Five militants killed in Shopian gunbattle, likely a Hizbul group

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Written by Adil Akhzer | Srinagar | Published: June 8, 2020 4:00:41 am

 Kashmir, Kashmir Shopian encounter, Hizbul Kashmir, Shopian encounter Kashmir Security personnel at the site of the encounter in Shopian, Sunday. (Express photo: Shuaib Masoodi)

Five militants were killed in a gunbattle with security forces in Shopian district of South Kashmir on Sunday.

IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar told The Indian Express: “We have killed five terrorists in today’s operation in Shopian. It was a clean operation. Such operations will continue.”

Speaking to reporters, Brigadier Vijay Mahadevan of 1 Sector Rashtriya Rifles called the Shopian operation a “big success”. “Yes, it is a success, a very good success. Our effort is to continue targeting the terrorist leadership,” he said.

The identities of the militants have not yet been disclosed but police said they probably belonged to the Hizbul Mujahideen and one of them was likely a top commander.

“The identification and affiliation of the killed terrorists is being ascertained. However, as per credible sources, the killed terrorists belonged to proscribed HM terrorist outfit and one among the killed terrorists is believed to be a top commander. In case any family claims the killed terrorists to be their kith or kin, (they) can come forward for the identification,” police said in a statement.

Police officers said that based on an input about the presence of militants in the area, a cordon-and-search operation was launched in Reban area of Shopian. While a search was on, militants opened fire at the security forces, triggering a gunbattle around 8.30 am.

In the meantime, clashes broke out in the area after local residents tried to head to the encounter site, and youth hurled stones at the security personnel. Authorities snapped mobile Internet in Shopian and Kulgam districts.

Three militants were killed by afternoon. In the evening, IGP Vijay Kumar said the number of militants killed in the operation totalled five.

Srinagar-based Defence spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia said: “Joint operation launched in early hours today on JK Police input. Cordon laid & contact established. Firefight ensued. Five terrorists eliminated. Good drills ensured no collateral damage. Operation in progress.”

An officer said security forces have recovered three AK-47s and two pistols – an indication that two of the militants likely joined the group recently.

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