While two militants were killed in an encounter in north Kashmir on Saturday, two youth also lost their lives while fiddling with explosives in Sopore in a separate incident.
Continuing with its operations against the militants, the army and the police on Friday night launched an operation in village Bakhi-Hakhar area of Handwara. The special security forces' team of the police and the 22 Rashtriya Rifles was working on a tip-off about the presence of militants in the village.
"The advance party was fired upon by the militants, which was retaliated, triggering an encounter. The operation was suspended for the night, which resumed on Saturday morning," said a police officer.
The police claimed it killed two militants in the afternoon. "The militants remained holed-up in a dhok (hutment) and continued firing on the police and security forces. In the exchange of fire, two unidentified militants were killed this afternoon," said the police officer.
The army spokesman, however, said the encounter started in the afternoon on Saturday. "Based on specific intelligence of presence of terrorists in a house in Bhagatpora area, Handwara, a joint operation was launched by the army's 21 Rashtriya Rifles and the police. While searching the area, at around 1:00 pm today, the party was fired upon resulting in an encounter. Two terrorists were killed in the retaliatory firefight," said Srinagar-based defence spokesperson Lt Col J S Brar.
The killings have come on the heels of the killing of five top militants in Lolab in Kupwara district recently. "This is another major success in our fight to bring peace to the Valley," said Brar.
Meanwhile, two persons, identified as Ashfaq Ahmad Khan (21) and Babar Khan (20), both residents of village Markote-Dangiwacha, died when the explosive object they were fiddling with exploded. The duo lives in the jungle area of Behak Nardargi in Dangiwacha, Sopore. "The incident happened this afternoon. No encounter has taken place at the place of incident earlier," said a police spokesman.