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Army Major, Hizb commander killed in J&K shootout

The terrorist was hiding inside a house and was gunned down by soldiers, but not before he managed to fatally attack an Army Major, reports Rashid Ahmad.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2006 16:21 IST

An Army Major and a top commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen were killed in a fierce clash at southern Kashmir's Bijbehar town early on Tuesday.

Defence spokesperson Lt Col AK Mathur said the operation was still on.

The clash occurred after troops of RR-1 and Para Regiment, on specific information, laid siege around a house at Babamohalla in Bijbehar town at 4 am on Tuesday.

Sources said the troops searched the house for about three hours but could not find the terrorist. "But the Army source insisted that a top commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen was hiding inside the house," said a source, "and the soldiers re-launched the search operation".

Sources said that Major MH Padhambari, who was leading the operation, hit a wall of the house with the butt of his gun to stumble on a possible undercover hideout.

"The wall smashed abruptly and the terrorist fired a volley of bullets from inside on the Major", said a source, adding that the officer died instantly.

Defence spokesperson said that the soldiers retaliated and gunned down the terrorist inside the hideout. He said that the slain terrorist, Ashraf alias Suhail Fazal, was a divisional commander of Hizbul Mujahideen for south Kashmir.

He described the killing of the commander as a major setback to the outfit and said that Suhail was not only responsible for several killings but was also a top functionary of the group.

"He organised and trained attacks in south Kashmir. His killing is a demoralising blow to the terrorists," AK Mathur said. He said that the operation was still on.

First Published: Nov 28, 2006 15:56 IST