2 soldiers, 2 militants killed in Kupwara
8 May 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Two militants and two soldiers have died in two fierce gunbattles between militants and security forces in Kupwara district today. Informed sources told EXCELSIOR that troops of Army's 7 Para spotted and intercepted a group of seven infiltrating militants near Gulab Post, in Lashdat Nar area, close to LoC in Macchil-Keran belt of Kupwara district. As troops challenged them, all the militants took positions and engaged security forces in a fierce gunbattle. It was in the initial round of the firing that one soldier got killed and two more critically wounded. Even as they were officially 'untraced', some officials believed them as dead. Later two more soldiers sustained injuries. They were both evacuated and rushed to a military hospital at Drugmulla. Sources said that security forces extended the cordon to a vast area and launched a fresh operation in search of the militant. However, militants were untraced and they had not suffered any casualty till reports last came in tonight. Sources said that it was the third group of militants who had successfully infiltrated into Kashmir valley from PoK in the last two months. Five militants of one of these groups had been eliminated by Police and security forces in Kupwara- Handwara belt last month. Sources said that working over a specific information, Handwara Police and troops of Rashtriya Rifles 21 Bn swooped on an annexe behind a shopping line near Gurudwara at Chowgal, Handwara, on Sopore-Kupwara road this afternoon. According to the information, two prospective suicide guerrillas had prepared themselves for a fidayeen attack in Srinagar and they were waiting for a vehicle at Chowgal. As troops and SOG Handwara conducted a raid, both the militants opened fire and triggered off a fierce gunbattle which lasted for five hours. Sources said that one soldier of RR 21, namely Guardsman M A Ajeesh, got killed. In retaliation, troops destroyed the hideout, killing both the holed up militants. DIG north Kashmir, Dr B Srinivas and SSP Handwara, Dr Haseeb Mughal, besides senior Army officials supervised the operation. Officials participating in the operation said that both the militants killed in the 5-hour-long gunbattle were believed to be Pakistani cadres of Lashkar-e-Toiba. Both of them, in early 20s, were clean shaven. They were wearing jeans and sports shirts besides sports shoes. Sources said that two AK-47 rifles were recovered from their possession. Though fidayeen attacks have not taken place in Valley this year, officials claimed to be in possession of 'credible intelligence inputs' which suggested that both the militants had set off for conducting as a suicide attack on security forces in the Capital city of Srinagar.