Two militants belonging to the terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) were killed in a fierce gunbattle with security forces in a village on the outskirts of Srinagar since early Thursday, the police said.
The clash started after the security forces zeroed in on the area following a tip-off about the presence of militants. Soldiers from the army’s 2 Rashtriya Rifles and the anti-militancy Special Operations Group of the state police cordoned off a part of Maloora village where the gunbattle was still on at the time of going to press.
“Two militants were killed in the encounter. A house suffered severe damages. The body of one militant was recovered from the rubble of the house,” a police spokesperson said.
The police said the slain militants were highly trained and had plans to carry out fidayeen (suicide) attacks on security force establishments in and around Srinagar.
JeM operations chief Sajad Afghani, who did not reveal his location, told a local news agency on Thursday evening that the dead militants belonged to his outfit.
“We had sent a group of six militants to target the army’s 15 Corps headquarters at Badami Bagh and a camp at Haft Chinar,” Afghani said.
A detained driver who worked as a courier for the militants reportedly provided the tip-off on Wednesday.
The security forces began their search operation on Wednesday night and zeroed in on the militants early on Thursday morning.
“The militants arrived in Bandipora yesterday (Wednesday). We had the information and were keeping tabs,” said Srinagar SSP Ashiq Bukhari.
The militants jumped out of the house where they were hiding and barged into nearby houses when the forces started firing. Security forces evacuated the residents.
The army also used a helicopter to locate the militants. HT’s photojournalist Waseem Andrabi had a narrow escape when one of the militants came out of a house in the afternoon and fired at a soldier, just next to where many photojournalists were standing.
“It was only quick and prompt action from a soldier who retaliated at the militant’s firing while rolling on the street that saved the mediapersons,” Andrabi said.