2 militants, soldier killed in encounter in Kashmir

2 militants, soldier killed in encounter in Kashmir

Two militants and a soldier were killed in an ongoing gun battle between the army and ultras at a forest area in north Kashmir's Bandipora district on Thursday.

An army official said two militants have been killed in the operation so far while a soldier also died in the fierce gun battle. The bodies of the slain militants were recovered along with two AK series rifles and other arms and ammunition, he said and added the identities and group affiliation of the slain ultras is being ascertained.

The operation was launched at Panner forest area last week following a firefight between militants and security forces in which two army men were injured. Since then the intermittent firing between the two sides has been going on, though there was a brief lull in the firing on Tuesday.

Sources said that a group of 15 to 20 militants had infiltrated through Gurez route last week and they came in contact with the army at Paneer. “Fifteen militants are believed to have escaped the cordon, while three to five have continuously engaged the forces in the firefight,” they revealed.

The army said an operation is underway to trace the hiding militants and may take some more time.

Last week the army killed six armed infiltrators along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Keran sector of Kupwara district in north Kashmir. With the onset of summer, infiltration attempts have increased in the past few weeks.

“With the mercury rising and snow-melting in the Valley, the chances of infiltration increase from the Pakistani side. The army is all geared up to counter such threats,” a senior army officer said.

Sources said dozens of new launch pads have been activated by Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen across the LoC and they are making all-out efforts to push militants into the Indian territory with the onset of the summer.