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Militant gunned down in final assault, Poonch encounter ends

india Updated: Sep 13, 2016 20:28 IST
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Poonch encounter

Security personnel take positions near the building where militants were hiding during the second day of encounter at Allah Pir area in Poonch on Monday.(PTI)

Indian Army commandos stormed the mini-secretariat building in Poonch and killed a militant on Tuesday, bringing an end to the three-day encounter in the border town of militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir.

The commandos of elite 9 Para also recovered two bodies, which were spotted by drones on Monday, from the three-storied, under-construction building.

“This afternoon security forces blasted a wall using a powerful IED and then used stairs to enter third floor from where they started their cleansing operation,” a police official said.

He said the militant killed was hiding on the second floor. The building has more than 80 rooms, over 20 toilets and eight underground water and septic tanks. Authorities feared that there could be booby traps in the building.

Security forces recovered four AK-47 assault rifles, 16 magazines, four under-barrel grenade launchers and four pistols from the building.

“With killing of this ultra, a total of four terrorists were eliminated in the three-day long operation. All the three floors of the building have been sanitized and the operation has been called off. However, searches will continue,” Johny Williams, inspector general in-charge of the Rajouri-Poonch range, said.

“In fact, this ultra, who was eliminated today, was injured and he had been opening intermittent fire. Since we did not want to lose any of our men and to ensure zero casualties on our side, we tried to wear out the remaining ultras, whose exact numbers were not known.”

Rajinder Kumar, a policeman, died on Sunday and seven people, including a Para commando, three policemen, two soldiers and a civilian, were injured in the attack by the militants.

The encounter, which began in Poonch town on Sunday morning, has been the longest-ever in the border township. The last such attack was in 2003, when deputy superintendent of police Manjit Singh was killed by militants.

On Sunday, militants fired at a police patrol near the army’s 93 Brigade headquarters at around 7am. The attack led to the death of Kumar.

The army, which used drones to keep an eye on the militants and sent in commandos for the final assault, after the militants split into two groups.