Militants, hostages still holed up in a mosque in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Dec 24 (UNI) Efforts are on to persuade the militants, still holed up in a mosque in south Kashmir since yesterday, to release five civilians and surrender, official sources said.

However, sharp shooters holding automatic weapons remained deployed around the mosque at Panditpora, Kulgam, the sources said.

Two soldiers and a civilian were injured in the encounter so far, the sources said adding there was no report of exchange of fire between the holed up militants and security forces.

A defence ministry spokesman said efforts are on to persuade the holed up militants to surrender and release five persons in the mosque.

He said police have taken over the charge of the operation to bring out the militants while troops are deployed to foil any attack by militants from outside the cordoned off village.

Sources said a number of senior civil and police officials visited the area and the militants were repeatedly asked to release the five civilians in the mosque.

There was no exchange of fire between the militants and security forces since last evening.

The operation started yesterday when a group of militants, reportedly two to three, entered the mosque after exchange of fire with a patrol party in the area.

Reinforcement was rushed to the area from nearby camps to foil any militant attempt to escape.

UNI

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