3 Hizb militants killed in Shopian gunfight

3 Hizb militants killed in Shopian gunfight

2 sustain pellet injuries in clashes at encounter site

Shopian: Three militants were killed in a 20-hour-long counterinsurgency operation at Heffkuri village of south Kashmir’s district Shopian on Wednesday. The firefight ensued on Tuesday night when a search party of joint team of forces was fired upon by the hiding militants.
A joint team of government forces including 44 Rashtriya Rifles of army, police and 178 battalion Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) launched a cordon and search operation (CASO) in the village after getting credible inputs about the presence of militants.
A police official said that after two hours of search, the party was fired upon by the hiding militants which was retaliated by the government forces ensuing into an encounter.
“Three militants were killed in the encounter and arms and ammunition was recovered from their procession,” said a police spokesperson in a handout.
Sources from the village and police said that militants were appealed to surrender and come out from the hiding place but they refused the call.
“They (police) called them by their names several times and what we know none of them accepted their offer,” a local told Kashmir Reader.
The militants were hiding in a two-storey residential house which sustained partial damages during the firefight.
Meanwhile, clashes between forces and people took place when forces were withdrawing from the encounter site.
Locals said that youth pelted forces with stones who retaliated with tear smoke shells, stunt grenades and pellets.
They said that at least two people sustained pellet injuries and two among them were removed to district hospital Pulwama from where they were shifted to SMHS Srinagar for special treatment.
This gunfight was the second since August 28 when four Al-Badr militants were killed and one was arrested in a brief encounter at Killora village of the district.
The slain militants were identified as Sajad Ahmad Malla, resident of Maldera Shopian. He according to family sources has joined militants ranks on June 26 this year. The rest were identified as Junaid Rasheed of Tumlahaal village of Pulwama and Waseem Ahmad Magray of Chakoora village of Pulwama, all affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen.
Police in a statement said that the slain militants were involved in attacks on forces and civilian atrocities.
“The operation was halted for night and the militants tried to break the cordon and escape but a tight cordon was laid around the site. The bodies due to fear of Covid-19 wouldn’t be handed over to families. Civilians are advised not to venture to the gunfight site till it will be sanitised,” it said.

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