2 LeT ultras and army jawan killed in Bandipora encounter
Srinagar, July 3 (UNI) Two militants belonging to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit and a junior Army officer were killed and three other soldiers injured in the fierce 20-hour-long gun-battle between the Army and militants at Bandipora in north Kashmir.
A search operation which started last evening, ended this afternoon after both the militants holed up inside residential house were killed, official sources said today.
The slain militants were identified as Abu Umar and Abu Ali, residents of Pakistan, they said. Seven houses and two cowsheds were damaged in the clash, they added.
Earlier, the Army launched a final assault this morning against the holed-up militants, sources said.
The troops went all out against the militants, who were holed up in the house, since last evening when a search party of 14 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) was attacked by the militants at Gamaru in Bandipora area, they said.
The operation was launched after receiving intelligence reports that three to four militants were present in the area. However, encounter ensued after troops were fired upon by the militants.
An Army officer Jagdish Chand was killed and three other soldiers were wounded in the encounter, sources said.
The local residents alleged that troops fired mortars damaging about half a dozen houses in the encounter.
The encounter in the area came after Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police announced a reward of Rs five lakh on Salahudin alias Bilal alias Haider, a militant of the banned LeT outfit.
Salahuddin is the LeT chief operational commander in Jammu and Kashmir and at present believed to be hiding at Sumblar in Bandipora area.
However, this was the second major encounter in as many days in Bandipora area. On July 1 15 RR Lt Colonel V R Chauhan, two militants and a civilian were killed in more than a five-hour-long fierce gunfight at Nowpora market in Bandipora area on June 30. One BSF personnel was also wounded in the encounter.
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