January 2000 News

RR HQ cleared, Major killed

13 January 2000
The Asian Age

SRINAGAR: The Indian Army, Rashtriya Rifles, personnel and the Jammu and Kashmir police's elite Special Operations Group on Thursday morning blasted building held by Pakistan-backed militants and rescued three Military Engineering Services personnel being held hostage.

Three militants were killed, but the action cost the lives of Major Muthanna of the Indian Army, a civilian woman and her 13-year-old daughter Sadaf.

About five terrorists of the Pakistan-backed Harkat-ul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba had mounted another daring attack in the Kashmir Valley, storming the 1 Sector Rashtriya Rifles camp at Khannabal, outside Anantnag town in south Kashmir, on Wednesday evening after getting off a Maruti van at the front gate. This was the 15th such attack on a defence installation in Jammu and Kashmir since August last year.

The militants were armed with assault rifles, grenades and an 85 mm rocket projectile gun. There of the five militants were killed in a 12-hour overnight battle, which ended only after the security forces used mortars, rockets and explosives to bring the building down around the entrenched militants. The search for the other two terrorists was on.

Brigadier Deepak Bajaj told reporters at the site that two militants actually identified themselves as Abu Abdullah and Abu Haroon of the Harkat-ul Mujahideen from Lahore before the building collapsed, suffocating them to death. Police sources said the group of militants forced their way into the camp on Wednesday evening and opened indiscriminate automatic-weapon fire, capturing one of the buildings within the complex.

The two Harkat militants occupied the Military Engineering Services Complex, taking three employees as hostages. Brig. Bajaj said. The third militant ran towards the office of Anantnag deputy inspector-general of police Raja Aijaz Ali, but was killed by the ITBP personnel guarding it, he added. The third unidentified militant belonged to the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba outfit as his weapon bore "LET" markings, Brig. Bajaj said.

Soon Rashtriya Rifles soldiers, who were later joined by members of the Jammu and Kashmir police's elite SOG and other paramilitary forces, encircled the building and other barracks to return fire.

Owing the responsibility for the latest strike by its "feadyeen" group, a spokesman of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba said the attackers were led by one Muzzamil. He vowed that such strikes by Lashkar cadres would go on.


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