Abid Bashir

Srinagar, May 02 (KNO): Two army officers–a colonel, major, two soldiers and a police sub-inspector were killed in an overnight gunbattle at Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district. Two militants were also killed in the encounter, army officials said today.

A deadly encounter broke out at Changimul area of Handawara late on Saturday evening between militants and the security forces after joint teams of forces laid a siege in the area on the basis of a specific lead about presence of militants hiding in the area. Today’s gunfight has been the deadliest ever in the recent past where security forces suffered heavy causalities. This year, security forces have been able to kill over 50 militants of which 34 have been killed since the outbreak of pandemic Covid 19 alone.

Defence Spokesman in Srinagar, Colonel Rajesh Kalia told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), that based on the intelligence input that militants were taking the civilian inmates of a house in Changimula, Handwara as hostages, joint operation was launched by army and the police.

“A team comprising five army and JK police officers entered the house and to evacuate the civilians. However, during the process, the team was subjected to heavy volume of firefight. Two militants were killed,” Colonel Kalia said. He said that in the ensuing encounter, security forces personnel comprising two army officers (a colonel and a major) two soldiers and one JK police sub-inspector were killed.

Defence sources said that the operation was concluded and the bodies of two slain militants have been recovered from the site of encounter. The bodies of slain army officers, soldiers and the police officer have also been retrieved. It may be recalled that the operation as started by the army’s 15 and 21 RR while as the para commandoes of 9 para were also rushed to the spot. A house where militants were hiding was also damaged in the gunfight—(KNO)

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