4 LeT Militants Killed, 2 Escape
9 September 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Four suspected foreign militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit were shot dead by security forces and two others escaped after they managed to sneak from across the Line of Control (LoC) into Machil Sector of Kupwara district in Kashmir valley where a LeT's locally trained ultra was arrested. This apart, a helicopter of Indian Air Force (IAF) caught fire while refuelling in Bandipora. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kupwara said that the four LeT militants were killed in a joint operation by the Special Operations Group (SOG) of State Police and troops of 7 Garhwal of the Army at Muthal Nar near the Line of Control in the wee hours of the day. He said the encounter broke out when the police along with Army launched a search and cordon operation in the area following specific information about the presence of some recently infiltrated group of six militants. During the operation, four militants were gunned down and two others managed to escape from the encounter site. All the militants were of LeT outfit, the SSP said, adding a massive search and cardon operation was launched in the area to track down two escaped militants. But no contact could be established with them till late this evening. Four AK-47 rifles and huge cache of arms and ammunition were recovered from the scene of the encounter, the Kupwara police chief said. The identity of the slain ultras could not be established. An official spokesman said that a locally trained militant of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit was arrested from Sogam area in Kupwara district. Identified as Tanweer Ahmad, son of Bashir Ahmed Naz of Baramulla, the militant was roaming in the Sogam town when arrested by the security forces. One pistol was recovered from his possession. During sustained interrogation, the arrested militant revealed that he was working with LeT commander Khalid of Handwara. The further questioning of the arrested ultra was going on and police didn't rule out arrest of Over Ground Workers (OGWs) of the LeT and recovery of arms and ammunition at their disclosure. Meanwhile, a helicopter of the Indian Air Force (IAF) caught fire during refuelling in a heliport at Bandipora today. Defence PRO Colonel Mathur said that the MI-17 helicopter was engaged in delivering essential commodities to troops in the forward posts and after making ration supply in some of the high altitude and forward posts it landed at Bandipora Heliport for refuelling. While refuelling, the pump being used for the purpose developed a snag resulting into sparking and subsequent fire, Col Mathur said, adding the security forces personnel at the heliport immediately swung into action and doused the fire. While ruling out any sabotage attempt, he said that it was purely an accidental fire and doused within half an hour, adding none was injured in the fire. Col Mathur said that Court of Inquiry has been initiated into the incident. The concerned engineers will inspect the helicopter and it would be only after their nod that helicopter would fly from Bandipora Heliport, he further said. Reports from Budgam said that the people held massive protest demonstration against the Army and blocked Srinagar-Baramulla Highway for more than two hours following a woman knocked to death by an Army vehicle at Hanjiwara near Pattan. The woman identified as Zoona Begum, wife of Abdul Salam Malik of Beerwah was crossing the road when crushed to death by an Army vehicle. Soon after the death, a large number of people blocked the highway and held massive protest demonstration. As the road blockade continued for about two hours, police personnel resorted to lathicharge and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the mob. Later, the agitating people dispersed and vehicular traffic on the highway was restored.