Two LeT militants killed in Kashmir’s Sopore

Sources said the gunfight erupted after a joint team of army's 22-Rashtriya Rifles and special operations group (SOG) of J&K police laid a siege in Brath Kalan area of Sopore. (Photo by Umer Asif)

Two militants of Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit were killed in an overnight gunfight with security forces in Sopore area of north Kashmir's Baramulla district on Thursday.

Sources said the gunfight erupted after a joint team of army's 22-Rashtriya Rifles and special operations group (SOG) of J&K police laid a siege in Brath Kalan area of Sopore, 55 kms from here, late Wednesday evening following inputs about the presence of some militants in the area.

“The operation was halted due to darkness last night and was resumed early morning. Two LeT militants, who were trapped in a house, fired on the search party which was retaliated. The house, where the militants were hiding, was brought down by the security forces with mortar shells,” they said.
 
A police spokesman said that bodies of two militants were recovered along with arms and ammunition from the encounter site. The slain militants were identified as Owais Bhat and Tahir Ahmad Dar - both locals and affiliated with LeT.

On Sunday, three LeT ultras, including one of the youngest militants in Kashmir, were killed in an 18-hour gunfight with security forces on the outskirts of Srinagar city. While 30 and 37 militants were killed in October and November respectively, there has been drop in militant killings this month.

Most of the militants killed in October and November were locals from south Kashmir districts of Shopian, Kulgam, Pulwama and Anantnag. However, since the beginning of December, no encounter was reported from south Kashmir. But on Tuesday, four policemen, who were guarding a minority pocket in Shopian, were killed by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed militants. 

A senior police official said that a group of heavily armed Jaish militants, led by former special police officer Adil Bashir, who decamped with eight weapons from a PDP legislator in October this year and deserted the police force, carried out the attack. In 2018 so far, 41 policemen were killed by militants, which is the highest in the past 15 years. Militants also looted 28 weapons from the police, official figures say. Last year the force lost 31 men to militant attacks. 

Over 230 militants have been killed in Kashmir this year while 217 ultras were killed in 2017 which was highest in the last nine years. However, despite increase in encounters and militant killings, Army maintains that recruitment of local youth into militancy has seen a decline in Kashmir during the recent months.

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Two LeT militants killed in Kashmir’s Sopore

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