Pampore encounter ends after 56 hours; Army says terrorists 'belonged' to Lashkar-e-Toiba

Elite Para commandos of the Army had to be called in to neutralise the militants.

Pampore encounter ends after 56 hours; Army says terrorists 'belonged' to Lashkar-e-Toiba

Srinagar: After 56 hours of fierce gunbattle, encounter in Pampore town in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district ended on Wednesday, with security forces killing two terrorists holed-up inside the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI). 

Briefing the media, GOC, Victor Force, Major General Ashok Narula confirmed the encounter was over and the forces eliminated two terrorists and recovered two weapons.

When asked as to why the encounter stretched for more than two days, the Army personnel replied, "The building where the terrorists were hiding was a huge one, the operation had to be very tricky."

It is sad that for the second time in a year the terrorists occupied the EDI complex, the officer said.

As there were reports of two to three militants present in the  government building, the security forces had to search all the 50 rooms of the building before calling off the operation, the Army official said.

While one militant was killed yesterday evening, the other militant was shot dead by the security forces today, the official said.

The official said details about the slain militants were being ascertained but prima facie there were indications that they belonged to Lashkar-e-Toiba.

The Major General further said that the forces took every step cautiously to avoid any collateral damage.

Army personnel had to fired mortar shells at the multi-storey building of the EDI at Pampore on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway to eliminate the militants.

The militants, who were heavily armed with rockets, grenades and automatic gunfire had held the forces at bay since Monday.

Elite Para commandos of the Army had to be called in to neutralise the militants.

Two to three militants stormed into the EDI complex in the wee hours of Monday and took positions inside one of the buildings. After getting inside the complex, the militants set on fire few mattresses inside a hostel room to attract the attention of the police and other security forces, which arrived within minutes of the smoke emanating from the building.

Two security personnel and a policeman were injured as the militants fired from inside the hostel building of the EDI on Monday after they entered the building.

The 70-room, seven-storey building is located at Pampore on the banks of the river Jhelum and 12 km from the Srinagar city centre.

The main building of the institute was attacked in February when militants captured it and launched a major attack on security forces. Six persons - a civilian, three soldiers and two paramilitary troopers -- were killed then before the three militants were shot dead.

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