SRINAGAR: Four Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists were shot dead by security forces early on Monday after exchanging gunfire through the night in the Imam Sahib area of south Kashmir’s Shopian.
IGP (Kashmir range) Vijay Kumar termed the encounter a major counter-terrorism success that took the number of ultras killed in the Valley since January to 19, including two wanted commanders of different outfits.
The slain terrorists were identified as Rayeed Ahmed, Amir Mir, Raqib Malik and Aftab Wani. Rayeed had been active in south Kashmir since October last year while the rest had picked up arms between November and February, the IGP said.
A joint team of the Army, police and the CRPF had cordoned off the Imam Sahib neighbourhood on Sunday night after being tipped off about the terrorists being holed up in a house there. “As soon as the forces moved in, they were greeted with a volley of gunshots. Around 2am, we got some family members of the terrorists to make a surrender appeal, but they wouldn’t listen. In the ensuing gunfight, all four were killed while a soldier was injured,” Kumar said.
It was initially suspected that the slain terrorists were from The Resistance Force, but the police later confirmed that they belonged to Lashkar.
According to the IGP, security forces had killed five of the 18 local youths who had joined terror outfits this year. “Three more have been arrested. We are pursuing the rest, with the priority being to make them give up arms.”
Kumar said the standard operating procedure for encounters was being strictly followed by security agencies deployed in Kashmir. “In all encounters this year, no civilian was hurt. We lost four personnel, including a soldier, a cop in Budgam and two other policemen at Barzulla in Srinagar since January.”
General officer commanding (GOC) of the Victor Force, Rashim Bali, said the Army’s 44 Rashtriya Rifles had reached out to the parents and wife of one of the terrorists in a bid to get him to surrender. The deceased’s wife turned up with their four-year-old son, but it didn’t make a difference. “It is because of this that the operation got delayed, otherwise it wouldn’t have lasted half an hour,” the GOC said.



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