Srinagar, March 28: In the major encounter of this year, five militants of the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba were killed in separate firefights with troops in Indian administered Kashmir on Wednesday.
“We cordoned off the Panjwani forest area of Rajwar, some 100 kms north of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir at around 0730 hours today and launched search operations to flush out the militants hiding there,” a police officer said.
The contact was established with hiding militants at around 0830 hours. “The militants opened indiscriminate fire on the soldiers from automatic rifles. The fire was returned by the search party, triggering an encounter. In the ensuing gunfight, three Lashkar militants were killed,” he said.
The deceased were identified as Aali Bhai, Abu Bakr and Zabiullah. “They were being targeted by the police in the past,” police said.
During the same time, another encounter broke out between militants and troops at Peer Mohalla, Laribal adjoining the Rajwar forests.
A police officer said two militants were hiding in the house of one Iftikhar Geelani. “The holed-up militants were asked to surrender. However, they fired from AK-47 rifles towards the soldiers. The fire was returned and in the ensuing firefight, both militants were killed,” he said.
The residents said the house was completely damaged during the firefight.
Police said the identity of the deceased Lashkar militants was being ascertained. “Nobody among them is a new militant. They all were senior militants and their killings will jolt LeT in the Rajwar area- the main infiltration and base route for the militants outfit,” a police officer said.
Lashkar’s operations will now be crippled in the area.