Pampore gunfight ends with killing of two more militants holed up in mosque

Anantnag: The 30-hour gunfight in Pampore area of Pulwama district came to an end Friday morning with the killing of two more militants who had taken shelter in a local mosque for around 20 hours.
One militant was killed earlier on Thursday in the gunfight. Though there has been no official word on the identity of the militants, sources in the police said all three were from Pulwama district and members of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
Sources identified the militants as Shahnawaz Ahmad of Murran, Arshid Hussain of Kakapora, and Faisal Ahmad of Rajpora.
“Their bodies will be sent to Baramulla for burial after completion of medico-legal formalities,” the sources said.
The gunfight began in Meej village on the outskirts of Pampore town late Wednesday night, soon after a cordon and search operation was launched in the area.
“The exchange of fire was intermittent till Thursday morning, following which the militants opened indiscriminate fire in a bid to escape from the house they were holed up in,” a senior police official from Awantipora police district said.
He said one of the militants was gunned down while trying to escape.
“The two others managed to take shelter in a nearby mosque,” the official said, adding that the situation needed handling with patience and utmost care, as any damage to the mosque would have hurt sentiments.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Vijay Kumar said that patience and professionalism worked to preserve the sanctity of the mosque.
“No use of firing and IED. Used tear smoke shells only. Maintained sanctity of the mosque,” Kumar said, soon after the two militants holed up in the mosque were killed.
Police also posted a video on social media of some locals hailing the government forces for carrying out the operation patiently and ensuring that no damage was done to the mosque.
A local police official told Kashmir Reader that bodies of the militants have been retrieved along with arms, ammunition and some incriminating material.
“An AK-47 and a pistol have been retrieved along with some incriminating material,” the official said.
The authorities snapped mobile internet services and voice calling (barring BSNL) across Awantipora police district early Thursday morning. While voice calls were restored late Friday afternoon, the internet services were yet to be resumed.
—With inputs from Bilal Habib

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