Handwara: The army claimed to have killed in the forested area of Waripora in Handwara on Sunday two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants who were “involved” in the attack on Panzgam artillery camp in Kupwara last month. Three army soldiers, including a captain-rank officer, were killed in that attack on April 27. The army and police in a joint operation killed the two LeT militants in a brief encounter on Sunday afternoon, the Commanding Officer of 21 RR, Handwara, Kuldeep Singh told media persons.
The army officer said that two AK-47 rifles and two pistols were recovered from the possession of the slain militants. The officer said that the killed militants were involved in the attack on the Panzgam army camp, during which two LeT militants were also killed. Two militants had escaped after the attack, and one of them had left behind his rifle near the camp while escaping.
“We had intelligence of the presence of two militants in a forested area in Handwara. This information came to us this afternoon. We, along with the special operation group of JK Police, launched an operation to track these militants out of the forested area,” Singh said.
He said that during the search operation, troops observed suspicious movement of two individuals. “On being challenged, they fired indiscriminately at the police and army teams. In our retaliatory fire, which lasted up to 10-15 minutes, we were able to eliminate both the militants,” he said.
“We have found a yet-to-heal wound on one of the eliminated militants, which indicates their likely involvement in the Panzgam suicide attack. We have also found other evidence among their war-like stores confirming their involvement in that attack,” he added.
Confirming the killing of two militants, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Handwara Gulam Jeelani told Kashmir Reader that two bodies and two rifles were recovered from the operation site. He said that the identity of the militants is yet to be confirmed.
Locals of Waripora, however, said that the army had laid an ambush and the militants walked into it. The ambush team fired and killed both the militants in a brief gunfight. Locals said they heard 20 to 30 fires in the area.
“Two AK 47 rifles, 2 pistols, 4 AK magazines, 2 pistol m, 2 UBGL grenades, and some more articles including maps and some cash were recovered from the encounter site,” a police spokesperson said.