3 LeT militants killed in Kupwara encounter
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
_____JAMMU, Jan 30: Three militants of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, believed to be Pakistani nationals, got killed in an encounter with security forces in Lolab valley of Kupwara district in northern Kashmir on Saturday.
Deputy Inspector General of Police, North Kashmir, Gareeb Dass told STATE TIMES that Army and Kupwara District Police launched a cordon-and-search operation after receiving specific information about the movement of a group of foreign militants at Lohar Mohalla of Dardpora, Kupwara, late on Friday evening. He said that one of the holed up militants was killed in the encounter but two of his associates escaped towards a height.
In the afternoon on Saturday, troops and Police established contract with the two hiding militants. Both of them were killed in the three-hour-long gunbattle. DIG identified one of the three militants as Usama alias Zarar Bhai and said that he was a commander of LeT. He said that three bodies, alongwith equal number of AK rifles, and a huge quantity of other arms and ammunition was serized from the two sites of the encounter. No civilian or security forces or Police personnel was killed or injured during the operation.
DIG said that the three militants were part of a group of seven Pakistani cadres of LeT who had infiltrated into the Valley in July 2015. The group had been in movement in Kandi belt of Kupwara. “Search is underway for remaining four militants of this group. We are confidant to wipe out this whole group very soon”, DIG said. He said that some residents gathered in the village in the forenoon and they caused a law and order problem with a possible aim of disrupting the operation. However, the demonstrators were dispersed with baton charge and the operation continued.
Reports from Kupwara said that a gathering of the residents clashed with Police and security forces while pelting stones and shouting pro-Azadi slogans. After the operation concluded, the bodies were handed over to the local Wakaf committee which organised the funeral rites in the evening. Shops and vehicular traffic remained shut down in Dardpora and some other parts of Lolab for the whole day.