Kulgam gunfight ends: 5 militants including Hizb commander killed in ‘fierce’ encounter, all identified

Srinagar: A fierce gunfight between militants and government forces in Chowgam village of Kulgam district ended Saturday morning with the killing of five militants.

The gunfight that broke out late Friday night, police said, started after the village was cordoned off following specific inputs about the presence of militants in the village.

After zeroing in on the suspected spot, the police sources said, the government forces fired warning shots which were retaliated by the militants triggering a gunfight.

The operation was jointly carried out by Special Operations Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police, 9 Rashtriya Rifles and CRPF.

After the initial exchange of intense fire local sources said that the forces carried out IED blasts on the house killing at least three militants. The IED blasts also forced a brief lull in the exchange of fire.

The firing resumed again in the morning hours with police saying that the three militant bodies were recovered.

After razing the house to ground, local sources said, government forces tried to enter the house, however, were pushed back by intense firing of the militants. This, they said, resumed the gunfight again.

By the dawn of Saturday, local sources said, the civilians rushed to the gunfight site and pelted stones on the forces who were engaged in the cordon. The ding dong battles between the protesting civilians and the government forces continued while this report was being filed.

Reports said that half a dozen protesters have suffered injuries during the clashes.

After the recovery of three militant bodies, the intermittent exchange of fire continued for a while, before police sources at around 9:30 said that all the five militants were killed.

The slain militants include top Hizb Commander Gulzar Ahmad Padder, a resident of Ponbay, Kulgam; Zahid Ahmad Mir, a resident of Wokay Kulgam; Masroor Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Fatehpora, Anantnag; Faizul Rather, a resident of Yamrach, Yaripora, Kulgam and Zahoor Ahmad @ Abdul Rehman resident of Damhal Hanji Pora, Noorabad, Kulgam.

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