Two Hizbul militants killed in Sopore encounter

'North Kashmir has more active militants than south'

Two Hizbul militants killed in Sopore encounter

Two local Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants, responsible for a grenade attack on Police last evening, were killed in an encounter with the security forces in Sopore town of north Kashmir's Baramulla district on Thursday.

Two soldiers were also wounded in the gunfight. A police official said that a joint party of Army’s 22 Rashtriya Rifles and Special Operations Group (SOG) of J&K police launched a search operation after specific information about the presence of militants in Nathipora area of Sopore, 52 kms from Srinagar during wee hours.

"As the search party intensified the combing operation, the hiding militants threw a grenade and opened indiscriminate fire on them, resulting in injuring two army men. In the retaliatory action, both the militants were killed," he said and added two AK-47 rifles and other ammunition were recovered from the site.

State Police chief Shesh Paul Vaid said the grenade thrower was identified from close circuit television camera footage and the description provided by the policemen who were attacked. “He (grenade thrower) was picked up and interrogated and then he led us to the terrorists,” he said. The grenade attack on police station on Wednesday evening, injured four policemen.

The slain militants have been identified as Aijaz Mir and Basharat Sheikh, both locals of Sopore. Reports said a few thousand people, including men and women, attended their last rites.

The encounter comes as the situation in the Valley was already precarious after the killing of Sabzar Bhat, the successor of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in Tral area of South Kashmir on Saturday.

The authorities barred mobile communication in parts of North Kashmir to “maintain law and order situation.”

While most of the encounters in recent months have been happening in Southern districts of Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama, a senior police officer said, North Kashmir has more militants active on the ground than the South.

"Contrary to what is being projected in the media that South Kashmir is the hotbed of militancy, the figures reveal that North has more active militants. The militants in the north are mostly foreigners," he told Deccan Herald.

Stating that in the next few months, North Kashmir may hot up, he said, "South Kashmir has 112 active militants and 99 among them are locals while the north has 141 ultras active out of whom 118 are foreigners.

The militants in the north are well-trained and equipped compared to their counterparts in the south."

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