4 houses damaged, forces launch searches to find ‘militant bodies’
Srinagar: Two army personnel were killed and three others injured in an encounter in Shopian district of south Kashmir on Saturday.
Official sources told news agency GNS that a Joint team of army’s 3 RR, 55 RR and SOG launched cordon-and-search operation at Astan Mohalla area of Awanura village in Zainpora Shopian following inputs about the presence of some militants.
As such the joint team was moving towards the target area, the militants in a bid to break the cordon fired upon them, triggering off a fierce encounter.
In the initial gunfight five soldiers including an officer sustained injuries and were shifted to military hospital Badamibagh Srinagar. Two soldiers later succumbed to injuries, they said.
When this report was filed the identity of the soldiers could not be immediately ascertained.
Meanwhile, different reports suggest presence of 10 to 13 militants even though the number could not be officially confirmed.
Among those trapped, the reports said include some top commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen and Laskar-e-Toiba.
They said that during the gunfight, four houses were also damaged.
SSP Shopian told news agency GNS that the firing has stopped and searches have been launched to trace the bodies of militants. However, no body was recovered when this report was filed.
Meanwhile, stone pelting clashes erupted near the encounter site. Locals tried to hamper the counter-insurgency operation but police prevented them from going near the gunfight spot, said an official, adding that teargas canisters were used by forces.
In wake of the gunfight, authorities have blocked internet services in Shopian district and other sensitive parts of south Kashmir.