HM 'district commander' among 7 militants killed in Jammu

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Jammu, Nov 8 (UNI) Three heavily armed Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) infiltrators were killed near the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district, while four Hizb-ul Mujahideen (HM) militants, including a self-styled 'district commander' of the outfit, gunned down in an encounter in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir today, a senior Army officer said.

''Foiling an infiltration bid, troops gunned down three militants just ahead of barbed fence after they breached the LoC in a bid to sneak into Sabzian sub-sector in Poonch district,'' Brigadier General Staff of XVI Corps Brig Gurdeep Singh told UNI.

The gun battle with the intruders started at about 0930 hrs, when troops of Border Security Force (BSF) and Army manning the LoC noticed a group of armed men advancing towards barbed fences after sneaking into the Indian side from CRP Dhok Post of Sabzian sub-sector.

''Militants fired indiscriminately when challenged by the troops and three were killed in the ensuing gun battle,'' the general officer said, adding searches were going on in the area.

A junior commissioned officer of Army also received bullet wound in his ankle during the gun battle, Brig Singh disclosed.

As searches for the body of third militants were in progress, an official spokesman said, ''At this movement we can confirm only two LeT militants as dead.'' Meanwhile, four HM militants, including the 'district commander' of the outfit, were gunned down in a fierce battle by the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and police at Bagwah area in the eastern Doda district, Brig Singh said.

An AK rifle and a pistol were recovered from the sight of the encounter, the officer added.

The slain HM commander, identified as Mohammad Shafi alias Hashim Khan, was one of the longest surviving ultra and had joined militancy in 1993, sources said.

Identities of all other militants killed today were yet to be ascertained.

The counter-insurgency operation, which started early today, ended at 1800 hrs with elimination of all the four holed up militants.

Security forces had cordoned the area and plugged the entire possible escape routes of the militants.

It may be recalled that over 40 attempts have been made by the militants to infiltrate into this side of Jammu and Kashmir in the past three months.


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