Kashmir gunbattle enters 3rd day



Srinagar: The fierce gun battle between militants and security forces in north Kashmir's Kupwara district entered its third day today as stiff resistance from the ultras and harsh mountainous terrain hampered counter insurgency operations.

"The gun battle in Kupwara has been going on for the last 48 hours. This is a dense forest and a tough mountainous area with lots of natural caves where militants have barricaded themselves," Brigadier General Staff of Army's Srinagar-based 15 Corps, A L Chavan told reporters here.

So far, five militants, an Army officer and two policemen have been killed in the fierce gunfight in Shamsabari forests, officials said.

The encounter broke out at Awathkul forest area of Kralipora, 130 kms from here, on Monday when police assisted by Army launched a search operation following information about presence of heavily armed militants, they said.

Chavan said the body of Army officer Lt Sushil Khajuria has been retrieved.

"He died after killing two militants from a close range and was then attempting to retrieve the bodies of an injured policeman and a trooper," he said.

Army sources said they believe the militants were six to seven in number and were part of the LeT group which had recently infiltrated from the Keran sector.

"We believe two militants are still fighting in the cordon," Chavan said.

He said this year militants have made 24 infiltration attempts from Keran sector in north Kashmir in which 26 militants have been killed.

PTI