Two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants and a civilian were killed during a nine-hour gunbattle between the ultras and the security forces in Awantipora area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district Thursday.

The encounter broke out in Padgampora village after security forces launched a cordon and search operation at around 2.30 AM following information about presence of militants there, a police official said. The militants, holed up in two adjacent houses, opened fire at security personnel at around 4.40 AM and the troops retaliated, triggering a fierce gunbattle which lasted nine hours.

The security officials had brought the mother of one of the militants to the site to persuade him to surrender but he refused, he said. The slain ultras were affiliated to LeT outfit and have been identified as Jehangir Ganai and Mohammad Shafi Shergujri, the official said. A 15-year-old civilian — Amir Nazir Wani — was also killed after he suffered a bullet wound in the neck during the cross-firing, he said. 

b’Representational image |Source: PTIxc2xa0′

While local residents claimed security forces fired at the protesters near the encounter site, leading to Wani’s death, police officials said the teenager was fatally injured by a “stray bullet”. Another youth — Sajad Ahmad Bhat — was injured after he was hit by a bullet in the hip. He has been referred to Bone and Joint Hospital here for treatment. 

Train services from Banihal to Srinagar have been suspended temporarily as authorities apprehend that miscreants might target the trains along the south Kashmir tracks. Meanwhile, Army’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen AK Bhatia today spoke to his Pakistani counterpart and conveyed India’s concerns over movement of terrorists along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. 

“The DGMO spoke to the Pakistan Army DGMO this morning. He expressed concern regarding the movement of terrorists noticed along the Line of Control (LoC),” Army sources said. 

Feature Image Source: PTI