2 Ultras Killed In J&K's First Fidayeen In 10 Months
26 July 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
Srinagar: In Jammu & Kashmir's first fidayeen attack since October last year, paramilitary forces have killed both the suicide militants at an encampment on the premises of Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) at Zakoora in the capital city outskirts today. Meanwhile, armed forces have killed one militant even as another was still holed up in a gunbattle at Arin village in Bandipore. Director General of Police, Kuldeep Khoda, told EXCELSIOR that two militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba organisation made an unsuccessful attempt to sneak into a formation of CRPF 42 Bn situated at the defunct BARC facility at Zakoora, in Hazratbal area, in the forenoon today. Both the militants, who emerged from a deserted orchard, lobbed hand grenades and opened gunfire on the pillboxes in the rear of the camp. Even as four of the soldiers sustained splinter injuries and four more got injured in the following mayhem, guards gunned down both the fidayeen. Two AK-56 rifles and three hand grenades were recovered from their possession. He said that one of the militants killed was identified as a resident of Kangan area in Kashmir valley and another was believed to be a Pakistani national. The Kashmiri fidayeen was identified as Feroz Ahmed Khan of Bonbugh, Kangan. Spokesman of Lashkar-e-Toiba, Dr Abdullah Ghaznavi claimed responsibility of the two-and-a-half-hour-long fidayeen strike on behalf of his organisation and told EXCELSIOR in a satellite telephonic conversation that the attack on the CRPF camp had been conducted inspite of intensified cordon-and-search operations, frisking of pedestrians and checking of vehicles all around. While identifying the militants killed as Feroz Khan alias Abu Muslim S-o Ghulam Hassan Khan R-o Kangan, and a 'guest militant' Abu Ma'az, the Lashkar spokesman said that today's operation had established two things: That the Kashmiri militants were not lagging behind anybody in participating in the fidayeen attacks on armed forces, and, that the militants were still strong enough to 'achieve any targets' in Jammu & Kashmir. He claimed that the fidayeen duo died but not before seven soldiers were left dead and an equal number of the paramilitaries injured. Officials, however, insisted that there was no fatal casualty among the security forces and the civilian population even as eight troopers sustained injuries. They said that four of the injured soldiers had been immediately discharged from hospital after they received medical treatment. With a long pause of nearly ten months, first fidayeen strike of the year 2007 has occurred in this capital city. Even as militants from three Pakistan- based Jihadi organisations have carried out nearly 80 suicide strikes on military, Police and civilian facilities in Jammu & Kashmir since July 1999, none of such attacks has taken place in the State in the last over nine months. Seven Police and paramilitary personnel had got killed in the fidayeen strike, along with two militants and a civilian, near Dashnami Akhara at Budshah Chowk on October 4-5 in 2006. Over two dozen Police and paramilitary personnel had sustained injuries in the 50-hour-long gunbattle. Reports from Baramulla said that suspected militants caused a powerful IED blast at Khanpora, a highway village on Srinagar- Muzaffarabad Road this evening. Reports said that three civilian pedestrians sustained injuries. Meanwhile, sources said that troops of Rashtriya Rifles 14 Bn conducted a wide cordon-and-search operation at Badshah Mohalla in Arin village of Bandipore this afternoon. After the house-to-house search was over, troops returned to the village with a unit of SOG Bandipore and zeroed in on the house of one Mubarak Shah. One of the holed up militants opened fire. He was gunned down in quick retaliation. Another militant took shelter at the house of a chemist, Saifuddin Shah, whose son is a Police official posted in Srinagar. Troops and SOG maintained a tight cordon around Shah's house but said that gunbattle would resume only next morning. Officials participating in the operation said that according to a tip off available with Police, three heavily armed militants had been hiding at Shah's house. Presence of only two militants could, however be established in the fierce gunbattle. A Defence spokesman has, meanwhile, said that the two-day- long gunbattle at Lama Mohalla, Nadihal (Rafiabad) has ended with the death of both the holed up militants in Baramulla district. He identified the duo as Abdul Lateef Teli alias Abdullah R-o Rusu Beerwah and Muzaffar Ahmed of Shopian. He claimed that Teli who was a 'self-styled district commander' of Al Badr outfit. He called the operation a major success and claimed that the same militant duo had carried out a broad daylight attack on an Army convoy in Ladoora belt on July 18th. Civilian sources revealed that two militants got killed but two more managed to escape from the cordoned house. Civilian Tariq Ahmed Wani and SPO Waahid of SOG also died in yesterday's operation. Probationary ASI Imtiyaz was among four personnel of SOG Sopore who have sustained injuries in Nadihal gunbattle.