5 top LeT militants, jawan killed in fierce gunbattle15 July 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Security personnel killed five militants of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) including its three top commanders but lost an Army jawan in a day-long fierce gunbattle in the border district of Kupwara in North Kashmir today. Five Army personnel including a Captain were injured in the encounter. The police had received an intelligence input that a group of five Lashkar militants had sneaked into a house at village Maidanpora in Lolab after moving out of Sopore town where they had carried out an attack on a police station on July 5 killing one policeman and injuring eight others. 'A search and cordon operation was launched in which police was assisted by 18 Rashtriya Rifles personnel. An operation was launched after a woman who was trapped inside a house could come out to safety,' a police spokesman said. In the day-long encounter, he said five top Lashkar militants were killed. While the bodies of four were recovered from the encounter site, the another was believed to be buried under the debris of the house, where they were holed up. One Army jawan identified as Nayak Sumer Singh from Nagaur district of Rajasthan was killed while another received a bullet injury in his stomach, he said. Besides this, four others including an Army Captain received minor injuries in the operation. The body of Singh is likely to be taken to his hometown tomorrow, S D Goswami, Defence spokesperson, said in Jodhpur. The encounter broke out this morning when a joint search party of Army and police came under fire from a house belonging to former Lambardar Ghulam Mohammad Mir, where the militants had come for a meeting to chalk out their strategies, police spokesman said. He said the house was cordoned off by the joint party of Special Operations Group, local police and 18 Rashtriya Rifles after getting specific information about presence of a group of militants affiliated with Lashkar including self-styled divisional commander Abu Saqib, district commander Abu Hamaad and deputy district commander Omair. There was no immediate exchange of fire between the two sides as security forces wanted to ensure that all civilians were out of the building before the operation was launched, he said. While the menfolk had come out of the building this morning, the wife of the house owner and his daughter were trapped inside for more than an hour, officials said, adding the girl came out first from the house followed by her mother half-an-hour later. Security forces engaged the militants after the two came out safely and killed the holed up militants, he said, adding the house where the militants had taken shelter was damaged during the encounter. Deputy Inspector General of Police, North Kashmir, Munir Ahmad Khan while describing it a major achievement against LeT in North Kashmir said that these commanders were responsible for attacks on security forces in the area.