Two militants killed, two soldiers, dog injured in overnight gunfight in Anantnag:

Srinagar, October 10: Two local Lashkar-e-Toiba militants were killed while two soldiers and a dog were injured in a gunfights that broke out between militants and government forces Tangpawa Kokernag area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, officials said on Monday.

An official said that on specific input about the presence of militants, a joint team of police, Army and CRPF after receiving information about the presence of militants launched search operation in Tangpawa, Kokernag.

He said that as the joint team of forces intensified searches towards the suspected spot, the hiding militants fired upon the party, which retaliated, thus triggering encounter.

He said during exchange of fire, two militants were killed who were affiliated with LeT and they have been identified as Aasif Reshi and Wakeel Bhat both residents of Marhama Bijbehara.

ADGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar said that slain militants were involved in several militant crime cases.

A police spokesman in a statement said that acting on specific information generated by police regarding the presence of militants in village Tangpawa area of Anantnag, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by Police, Army (19RR) and CRPF (164Bn) in the area.

During the search operation, as the joint search party approached towards the suspected spot, the hiding militants fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party which was retaliated effectively leading to an encounter, the spokesperson said, adding that in the ensuing encounter, two local militants linked with LeT were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter.

They have been identified as Aasif Ahmad Reshi son of Mohd Yaseen Reshi resident of Sheikhpora Marhama Bijbehara and Wakeel Ahmad Bhat son of Abdul Ahad Bhat resident of Naibasti Marhama.

Police said that both the killed militants were categorized militants and involved in several crime cases including attacks on police and security forces & civilian atrocities.

Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter.

In this regard, a case under relevant sections of law has been registered and further investigation is in progress. People are requested to cooperate with Police till the area at encounter site is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials.

Meanwhile, a defense ministry spokesperson based in Srinagar said that two soldiers were injured during the course of the operation. Also the army’s specially trained dog named ‘Zoom’ suffered injuries in the operation, he said in a statement.

“While the parties were approaching the target area, the (militants) sensing being exposed, attempted to break the cordon and opened indiscriminate automatic fire while lobbying grenades, resulting in injury to one brave soldier. Despite being injured, the soldier brought down accurate fire, thereby injuring a (militants),” he said, adding, “The (militants) took forceful refuge in a house of a local citizen.” He said army troops held the fire, sensing the danger to the lives of villagers in the area. Hoever, the spokesperson said the militants opened automatic fire while civilians were being evacuated. “An Army jawan sprung into action to save the precious lives, in turn getting hit by the volley of fire. Nevertheless he with his team managed to ensure complete safety of civilians,” he said.

“Continuous surveillance of the target house, readjustment of cordon and intermittent exchange of fire throughout the night confirmed the presence of two (militants) in the house,” he said, adding, “During the period, it was spotted by own technical assets that one of the (militants) was injured. At that time, a brave fighter “Zoom”, an Army assault canine was sent into the target house to retrieve the weapon from (militants) and pull them out of hiding.” He said Zoom approached the target “stealthily and pounced” upon the militant. “Zoom was fired upon by the (militants) in hiding, thereby injuring him seriously.…Valiant Zoom is presently battling for his life at a Military Veterinary Hospital.”

The spokesperson said that two AK series weapons and one pistol were recovered from the spot.

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