All the five militants, who were killed in the 48-hour long encounter in Kupwara district of north Kashmir, were foreigners and part of a group that had recently infiltrated the Line of Control (LoC), police said on Thursday. “The five militants who were killed are all foreigners. The evidence we have recovered from the scene suggest that they were from Laskar-e-Taiba,” Inspector General of Police (IGP) S P Pani said.
Five security personnel were killed and four others were injured in the encounter which broke out in Halmatpora area, at least 8 kms from the LoC, on Tuesday. A search operation is underway to trace an Army Jawan who reportedly went missing on Wednesday.
According to sources, the militants, sneaked in nearly 8 kms across the LoC after crossing two ridges of the Shamsabari mountain range. They met their “reception party” (overground workers and militants already present in the Valley) after crossing the LoC and were proceeding towards Kupwara town when they were spotted by security forces. The militants started running towards the forest, but soon four of them were killed by the security forces. The fifth militant, who was firing from a height, was killed yesterday evening.
A joint team of the Kupwara police along with companies of the Army, the Territorial Army (TA) and the CRPF were engaged in the two-day operation. In the encounter, two policemen Deepak Thusoo and SPO Mohd Yousuf, three Army personnel Sepoy Ashraf Rather of 160 TA, Zoravar Singh of 160 TA and Naik Ranjeet Khalkho of 5, Bihar, lost their lives, a police spokesman said.
Meanwhile, a wreath-laying ceremony was held for Thusoo at the District Police lines where Pani led the security forces in paying tributes to their slain colleague. Pani said the operation was in concluding stages as search operations were in progress.
(With PTI inputs)