Karan Nagar encounter ends; 3 LeT militants killed

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Srinagar, The 32-hour long gunfight which raged between militants and government forces since Monday morning in Karan Nagar area of the city ended Tuesday afternoon with the killing of two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants, police said.

Pertinently, two militants in a bid to launch suicide attack, attempted to storm 23 Battalion Hrq of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at Kara Nagar area around 4;30 am on Monday, but failed after an on-duty sentry saw them and opened fire, forcing them to take refuge in an under-construction building next to the paramilitary camp.

A soon as the militants took shelter in the building, a joint team of Special Operation Group (SOG) of police and CRPF cordoned off the entire area and launched an operation against them.

The operation against the militants was carried out by a SOG and CRPF, a police official said while clarifying that the Army was not involved in the operation.

The official said two bodies – along with weapons – have been recovered from the encounter site.

Ravideep Sahi, IG-CRPF, Srinagar, said the forces recovered two AK-47 assault rifles and eight magazines from the site.

The gunbattle, which began yesterday morning, came two days after suspected Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants attacked an Army camp in Jammu’s Sunjuwan area, killing seven people, including six Army soldiers. Three militants were also killed in subsequent operation by the Army.

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, S P Pani said the militants who tried to attack the CRPF camp in Karan Nagar area early yesterday morning belonged to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group.

“The materials we recovered from the site of the encounter suggest that the militants belonged to LeT. But the militants have not been identified yet and we are trying to ascertain their identity,” he told reporters at a joint press conference with CRPF officials.

Pani said it was a “clean operation without collateral damage”, adding that it continued for so long as the building where the militants were holed up was a five-storey concrete structure.

A CRPF man identified as Constable Mohammad Mujahid Khan (No. 11047672 of 49 Bn CRPF), son of Abdul Khair Khan of District Arah in Bihar was killed, and a policeman — Javid Ahmad (No. 1843/S of District Police Srinagar) — was injured in the initial exchange of fire with the militants yesterday.

“We rescued five families of CRPF personnel as well as a few civilians and once the sanitisation (process) of the area was done, the operation was launched,” IG CRPF said.

The paramilitary force, he added, could have suffered huge losses had it not been for the alert sentry who thwarted the ‘Fidayeen’ (suicide) attack.

“In this operation, I think the credit goes to our sentry – a constable – who first stopped this Fidayeen attack to enter the battalion headquarters. Had they entered, there would have been a lot of losses,” he said.

Government forces in order to neutralize the holed up militants, targeted the five floor concrete building with rockets and UBGL grenades, with hiding militants retaliating the action with their weapons, sources said.

Although the combing operation was suspended Monday night around 10 pm for night in the wake of bad weather, however locals residing around the encounter site said loud blasts with brief lulls haunted them for the whole night.

The fresh encounter started at 9 am Tuesday morning with heavy exchange of fire from both sides and ended with the killing of both militants around late afternoon .

All the roads leading to encounter site were blocked since Monday with iron barricades and razor wires with police and paramilitary forces in riot gear manning streets so as to thwart people from moving towards the encounter site. Authorities had also reduced the Internet peed in Srinagar.

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