Three militants who attacked cops killed in Jammuhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/jammu-srinagar-highway-encounter-militants-killed-kakriyal-5354498/

Three militants who attacked cops killed in Jammu

Massive search operations had been going on in Jhajjar nullah and areas around it including Jhajjar Kotli and Kakriyal ever since three militants escaped on Wednesday morning after firing at a police party.

Civilians take shelter during an encounter at Kakriyal, in Jhajjar Kotli, 37 km from Jammu. (AP Photo)

Three militants, who opened fire on a police party and injured a security guard of a government department in Jammu on Wednesday, were killed in an encounter near Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University at Kakriyal opposite Jhajjar Kotli, nearly 37 km from here along the Jammu-Srinagar highway, on Thursday.

Nearly a dozen Army, paramilitary and state police personnel, including a Major, a Deputy Commandant and Deputy Superintendent of Police Mohan Lal, were injured in the exchange of fire with militants. They were hospitalised and their condition was stated to be stable.

According to Major General Arvind Bhatia, General Officer Commanding of the Uniform Force, the militants owed allegiance to Lashkar-e-Toiba and had entered the state through Tarnah nullah flowing across the international border between Bobiyan and Samba. They were on their way to the Valley, he said.

Police, however, said that the militants belonged to the Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Read | J-K: After highway attack, militants ‘changed clothes, ate food’ at a villager’s house, search ops underway to nab them

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The militants had opened fire on a police party, which had been following their truck from Saketar near Jammu after it grew suspicious about it. While fleeing, the militants shot at a guard of the Sericulture Department.

Police later arrested the truck driver, Riyaz Ahmed of Pulwama, and Mohammad Iqbal of Budgam, a paramedical student. Iqbal was asked by militant commanders in the Valley to bring the militants from Jammu and Riyaz was hired for the purpose, police said.

Security forces had pressed drones, helicopters and sniffer dogs to trace the militants. While the searches were in progress, militants sought refuge at the house of a villager, nearly 400 m away from Jhajjar Kotli police station, on Wednesday night.

Jammu SSP Vivek Gupta confirmed that a villager had informed the police about militants visiting his residence around 8 pm, carrying backpacks and rifles. Sudershan Kumar, a shopkeeper, told the police that the militants asked for some food, adding that his father offered them biscuits and apples. They asked for a change of clothes and if there was a mosque in the area. After being told that there was none, they moved towards the highway.

During the night, they crossed Jhajjar nullah and came over to Kakriyal where they were trapped due to the security cordon. As searches resumed on Thursday, the militants opened fire on search parties at noon, leading to the gunbattle in which they were killed.