Kashmir: 4 security personnel, 3 LeT terrorists killed

Four security personnel — an SPO, two CRPF constables and a soldier — and three Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists were killed in a terror attack in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Monday.

Among the slain ultras was top commander Sajad alias Haider alias Raja, tasked with recruiting Kashmiri youth into militancy, J&K DGP Dilbagh Singh said. A soldier also sustained critical injuries in the firefight.

“Sajad was considered one of the most-wanted terrorist commanders in J&K. He joined the terrorist ranks in the winter of 2016 and operated on the lines of slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, luring local youth into terrorism. We have arrested at least 20 such youth who were recruited by Sajad, besides many overground workers,” DGP Singh said at a presser later on Monday. Sajad’s slain aides were identified as Anayatullah from Andergam in Pattan, Baramulla, and Usman from Pakistan.

Around 9.30 am, the Lashkar trio came through the orchards in Kreeri area and targeted a joint team of security personnel manning the checkpost at Tindim, killing SPO Muzaffar Ahmad on the spot and grievously wounding CRPF constables Khurshid Khan and Lavkush Sudarshan Sharma. The terrorists also snatched the weapons of the security personnel before fleeing, IGP (Kashmir Range) Vijay Kumar said. The injured CRPF men, both from Bihar and serving with the paramilitary force’s 119 Batallion, succumbed on the way to hospital.

“Minutes after the attack, the special operations group of J&K police chased the terrorists and one was injured just at the bund, a few metres away from the attack site. He later managed to sneak into the orchards,” DGP Singh said. “In the meantime, SOG men surrounded the orchards and were later joined by the Army and CRPF. One of the terrorists, who was sitting on a tree, started firing at the forces. He was shot dead first, followed by the injured terrorist,” the DGP added. The security personnel also retrieved the weapons the ultras had stolen, IGP Kumar said.

As the cordon-and-search operation continued, fresh firing started in the orchards of Kreeri in Watergam in the evening after security forces spotted the third ultra and shot him dead. The operation was suspended temporarily as darkness fell, even as one terrorist is still believed to be holed up in the Kreeri orchards, an official said. A soldier was also killed in the firefight while another was critically injured and shifted to Army’s Srinagar 92 Base hospital.

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