Sopore gunbattle ends; Army officer, top terrorists killed

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 - 00:40

Srinagar: An Army officer and two jawans
were killed during an 18-hour gun-battle which saw the
elimination of five top militants of Pakistan-based terror
outfits in Sopore district of North Kashmir.

The gun battle began last night when security forces got
information about the presence of Lashker-e-Taiba, Hizbul
Mujahideen and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen terrorists in Chinkipura,
a heavily congested area of the Sopore town, official sources
said.
The killed armymen have been identified as Captain
Devinder Singh Jass, Naik Selva Kumar and Paratrooper Imtiyaz
Ahmad Thokar of first PARA.

However, a report from Bhopal quoting Army chief Gen
Deepak Kapoor said the dead officer was a Major.

A resident of Shopian in South Kashmir, Imtiyaz is the
second armyman killed while fighting militants. In March last
year, Paratrooper Shabbir Malik was killed fighting terrorists
in Hafruda forests of Kupwara.

The militants suspected to have been killed included
Bhasharat of Hizbul Mujahideen and Noman and Hamza of
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Sallahuddin of Lashker-e-Taiba and a
local militant Tauseef Mir, the sources said.
Located 54-kilometeres from Srinagar, Sopore turned into
a virtual fortress with police, army and para-military men
marching into the area.

The terrorists, in their last ditch attempt to escape,
blew up the two houses which were being used by them to fire
at security forces since 0230 hours this morning. The security
forces had cordoned off the area.

Report said security forces came under heavy fire from
militants who hurled dozens of grenades as special forces of
the Army approached and laid a siege of the area based on
specific intelligence input.

Senior police officials were camping in the area and had
been busy evacuating the locals from the locality so that a
final onslaught could be launched.

Army set up a multi-layer security ring was thrown
around the Sopore town to prevent any attempt by militants to
escape.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 - 00:40

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