Fresh firing erupts at Shopian encounter site

Fresh firing erupts at Shopian encounter site

At least three Kashmiri youth were martyred in Shopian district and two Indian soldiers were killed in a latest bloodshed in the disputed Himalayan territory.

Two Indian soldiers and three militants were killed in a 12-hour gunfight in South Kashmir's Shopian district, a top police official said on Sunday. Four Army jawans were injured in the clash.

He said as the security forces were conducting searches, the militants started firing at them, triggering a gunfight. However, two dozen security personnel too have laid down their lives fighting militancy.

"One of the injured soldiers succumbed in the hospital today", police said on Sunday.

The terrorists killed included Hizbul Mujahideen's operational commander Yasin Itoo, also known as "Ghaznavi". He joined the militant group again and was its self-styled chief operations commander. "It forced the militants to come in open", police sources said.

The 40-year-old Itoo alias Mehmood Gaznavi was named the "commander" of the home-grown militant outfit after Wani was killed in July 2016.

The dead soldiers were identified as Sepoy Ilayaraja P, a resident of Tamil Nadu, and Sepoy Gawai Sumedh Waman from Maharashtra. Militants fired at the approaching security personnel, wounding five Army personnel, two of whom later died. Over a dozen civilians were injured as the security forces fired live ammunition to quell the stone-pelting mobs.

An army official who was deployed at the encounter site said that there were more than ten militants present there, but only three were trapped and the rest escaped.

Meanwhile in a separate gunfight in Hajin village of Bandipora, north of Srinagar, two policemen were wounded after militants fire upon them during a search operation, a police spokesman said.

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