LeT commander, associate killed, army soldier injured in Srinagar gunfight

Srinagar, July 25: A top Lashker-e-Toiba militant and his associate were killed and an army soldier was injured in a gunfight in Ranbirgarh-Panzinara area in outskirts of Srinagar on Saturday.

A police spokesperson said that on a specific input regarding presence of the militants in the area, a joint cordon-and-search-operation was launched by police, army’s 29 Rashtriya Rifles and CRPF.

“As the presence of (militants) got ascertained, they were given opportunity to surrender. However they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter,” he said.

In the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter, he said.

While the spokesperson said that the identification and affiliation of the slain was being ascertained, police in a tweet identified the slain duo as Ishfaq Rashid, a resident of Sozeith Srinagar who “was one of top LeT commanders active since 2018 and wanted in many cases of (militant) violence.”

The other militant, Aijaj Ahmad Bhat, was “important LeT cadre from Pulwama district.” Official sources said that one soldier was injured in the initial phase of the gunfight as he was hit with a bulletin in leg. The injured was removed to hospital and his condition is stated to be stable, they said.

Meanwhile, the police spokesperson said that incriminating materials including arms and ammunitions were recovered from the site of encounter. “All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other (militant) crimes,” he said, adding, “There was no injury to civilians or loss of property during the encounter.”

The bodies of the slain militants were sent to Ganderbal for their last rites after conducting medico-legal formalities. (GNS)

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