4-day Kupwara Encounter Ends, 9 Dead29 September 2011
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: Exchange of fire between militants and security forces died down on the fourth day of the encounter in the vast forest area of north Kashmir's frontier district of Kupwara on Thursday. 'We are in an operation mode. The cordon of the area continues. We suspect presence of militants in the area. It will be premature to say how many militants are killed and trapped till clean up operation is not launched,' senior superintendent of police VK Birdi told the Hindustan Times. A fresh batch of suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba militants, who are believed to have sneaked from Keran sector of the Line of Control into the Valley, was intercepted on Monday afternoon by police's special operation group. The exchange of fire has left two policemen and two armymen dead so far. The army claimed on Tuesday five militants are probably dead in the encounter. 'We have not found any militant body yet. The terrain is tough. The scene might get clear this night. There has been no exchange of fire since Wednesday evening,' said SSP Birdi. Sources said the body of an army jawan continues to be missing as the remnant militants are active in the area. 'Gun shots were head in the day if not target fire in the area,' said another senior police officer in the condition of anonymity. The operation site is in Kupwara's Awathkuli Meeyal Kralpora forest area, 110 km north of Srinagar. The militants were hiding in a small valley with steep rocky slopes. 'Boulders and rocks are providing natural cover to the militants, making it difficult to advance. But we are narrowing down on them,' said SSP Birdi. The army suspects the batch was of seven militants and five of them are already dead. 'We presume a few militants are still alive. So we are going a little slow,' said the police officer.