Two IAF commandos killed in Kashmir

Two IAF commandos killed in Kashmir

Two air force commandos were killed, while four security personnel were injured in an encounter in Hajin area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district on Wednesday morning. Two militants were also killed in the gunfight.

A senior police officer said on late Monday night, the army’s 13 Rashtriya Rifles and special operations group (SOG) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police launched a cordon and search operation at Rakh-e-Hajin village, 35 km from here, following inputs about the presence of Lashkar-e-Toiba militants.

“While the operation was underway, militants hiding in a house opened fire on the search party, killing two Air Force Garud personnel and leaving four army personnel injured. Later, two militants were also killed in the gunfight,” the officer said.

The deceased commandos have been identified as Cpl Neelesh Nayan (31) from Sakri town in Nashik, Maharashtra; and Sgt Milind Kishor (33) from Udhadih village of Bhagalpur district in Bihar.

Confirming the deaths, defence spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said the commandos were operating with the army for operational experience and training.

According to the police, the slain militants are Abu Bakr alias Ali Baba, a Pakistani national, and Nasrullah Mir, a local. Both belonged to the Pakistan-based terror outfit LeT, the police said and added that they were involved in the killing of off-duty BSF constable Muhammad Ramzan on September 28.

Clashes after funeral

Clashes erupted in Hajin locality of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district on Wednesday after Mir was laid to rest. According to reports, after news of the encounter spread, youth assembled at Hajin Chowk and pelted stones at security forces, who retaliated by firing pellets and lobbing teargas shells. Sources said that two militants also made an appearance at the funeral.

The police maintain that nearly 25 militants were active in Bandipora district and a group of seven terrorists, led by LeT’s Mehmood Bhai, a Pakistani national, is active in Hajin area.  

Nearly 150 militants, including top commanders Sabzar Bhat, Junaid Mattoo, Ayub Lelhari, Bashir Lashkari, Abu Dujana, Mehmood Gaznavi and Umer Khalid, have been killed by security forces this year, which is the highest in the past eight years. The security forces are going after militants as part of Operation Hunt Down and on the basis of a hit list of terrorists.

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