Two fidayeens among 8 killed in Samba militant attack; 9 wounded

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Kaili Mandi, Samba, May 11 (UNI) The Army blew up a house and killed two fidayeens who had targeted local cantonment family quarters and fought a 12-hour-long gunbattle here today.

After getting all the five hostages free, the army launched the final assault at 1645 hrs using heavy weaponry, zeroing in on the house, and eliminated both the fidayeens who were intermittently firing from inside.

At least six people, including a photojournalist, two army jawans and two women were killed in the shootout, which started at about 0600 hrs.

SP (Operations) Mubashir Latifi and Major Mukul Chouhan were among nine people injured in gunbattle which has raised questions on the BSF's claim to have foiled a ''major infiltration bid'' from the international border nearby on Thursday night.

The militants, wearing army combat fatigues and carrying latest telescopic weapons and big bags, stormed the house of one Hoshiar Singh, an Indian Democratic Party leader in Rakh Amb Tali village near Kaili Mandi this morning and shot at the people inside.

While Hoshiar Singh and his wife Shashi Bala succumbed to their wounds, their daughter, Bindu, and her mother-in-law were wounded critically.

''The fidayees attempted to enter the Army family quarters and shot at two sentries on duty,'' General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Army Six Corps, Lt Gen Vinay Sharma told mediapersons here in the evening.

He said the gunbattle was fought ''very systematically'' as most of the army troops were out on military exercise.

Two rear units immediately swung into action with QRT (quick reaction teams) checked the advances of fidayeens towards family areas, who thereafter entered the thickly populated Kaili Mandi, the GOC said, asserting that the timely reaction of troops averted the possible ''kaluchak-like massacre''.

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