2 Jaish militants killed in Khanmoh gunfight

2 Jaish militants killed in Khanmoh gunfight
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6 troops injured by grenade, youth hit by pellets referred to SMHS

PAMPORE: Two Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants, one of them a local, were killed in a gunfight with government forces on Saturday here in Khanmoh area of Pulwama district. Six government forces’ personnel including a sub-inspector were injured when militants hurled a grenade from the house they were holed up in. In clashes that took place near the encounter site, government forces fired pellets that left at least two civilians with severe injuries.
The gunfight took place just a mile away from an army establishment that also falls in the vicinity of a police training camp at Zewan, 4 kilometers from Pampore.
Locals told Kashmir Reader that the house where the militants were killed was gutted down after government forces used explosives to force the militants out. The house had been rented out to labourers who work in this industrial area, locals said.
The owner of the house has been identified as Farooq Ahmad Gojar, police sources said. A burnt bike was also found at the encounter site and police are investigating if it was in possession of the slain militants.
A police officer said a team of army, police, and paramilitary CRPF began a cordon and search operation at Khanmoh near the government higher secondary school, after receiving specific input about militants hidden in a residential house.
He said that as government forces were conducting house-to-house searches in the area, they came under heavy gunfire and grenade attack from the militants who were hiding in a single-storey residential house. Gunfire was returned by government forces and a gunfight ensued that lasted three to four hours, before the two militants were killed. The police officer said that the house from where the militants were firing was damaged during the gunfight.
One of the slain militants has been identified as a local, Saqib Ahmad Dar, son of Mohammad Shafi, resident of Arihal village in Pulwama.
Both the militants were affiliated with JeM militant outfit, police said, adding that two AK-47 rifles, one pistol, and other arms and ammunition were recovered from the encounter site.
The body of the local militant was handed over to his family after completion of medico-legal formalities, the police officer said.
According to reports, Saqib Shafi joined militant ranks last year.
A senior police officer said that the militants hurled a grenade on government forces that left six of their personnel injured. Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir Range, Swayam Prakash Pani confirmed to Kashmir Reader that six security forces’ personnel were injured during the gunfight in Khanmoh. He said that the injured personnel were admitted to hospital and were out of danger.
Pani said that police were investigating whether the militants were planning to target the Republic Day function on Saturday.
The slain local militant was laid to rest at his native village where thousands of people attended his funeral prayers. Local sources said that multiple rounds of funeral prayers were held for the militant.
Meanwhile, the authorities snapped internet services in parts of Pulwama district. However, clashes erupted near the encounter site soon after the gunfight started. Government forces used tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse the protesters.
Locals of Khanmoh told Kashmir Reader that soon after the gunfight started in the morning, local youths attempted to reach the encounter site. When intercepted by government forces, the youths pelted them with stones. The forces’ personnel fired tear smoke shells, pellets, and bullets in the air to disperse them. Many protestors sustained injuries, locals said.
Two injured youths were taken to Sub District Hospital Pampore, doctors there said. They identified the injured youths as Faizan Ahmad Wagay and Amir Shafi Bhat, both residents of Khanmoh. Both were hit by pellets on their face, head, and body. The critically injured Faizan Ahmad was referred to SMHS hospital in Srinagar, doctors at the hospital said.