Two Lashker militants killed in Sopore encounter, internet suspended

Baramulla: Two local militants of Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) were killed on Thursday by security forces in an encounter which ensued during Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) launched yesterday afternoon in apple township of Sopore in this north Kashmir district, official sources said.
Meanwhile, mobile internet service remained suspended as a precautionary measure to prevent spread of rumours since yesterday afternoon when the operation was launched.
A complete shut down was being observed in Sopore though life was normal elsewhere in the north Kashmir.
Meanwhile, a police spokesman has appealed to people not to go near the encounter site as security forces were busy to remove any unexploded shell or material.
Sources told UNI that with the first light this morning, security forces resumed search operation at Gund Brath Kalan, Sopore in this north Kashmir district. The operation was suspended last night to avoid any causalities due to darkness though security forces remained deployed to prevent any militant attempt to escape from the cordoned off area despite chilly weather conditions.
However, when the security forces were moving towards a particular house in the area, militants hiding there opened fire with automatic weapons. Security forces also retaliated and in the encounter two militants were killed, they said adding the slain militants were identified as Owais Bhat and Tahir Ahmad Dar.
They said on a tip off about the presence of militants troops of Army, Special Operation Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir police and CRPF launched a joint search operation at Brath, Kalan Sopore, in Baramulla on Wednesday afternoon.
All exit points were sealed and house to house searches launched, they said adding so far no contact was established with the militants.
Meanwhile, additional security forces have been deployed outside the cordoned off area to prevent any demonstration, they said.
A police official said that the slain militants have been identified as Owais Ahmad Bhat alias Abu Bakar, a resident of Gund Brath Sopore and Tahir Ahmad Dar alias Abu Abdullah, a resident of Saidpora Sopore. β€œBoth were affiliated with proscribed militant outfit LeT,” he said.
He said both the militants were wanted by the law for their complicity in militant attacks on security establishments and civilian atrocities.
β€œHuge quantity of arms and ammunition, including rifles, were recovered from the site of encounter,” he said, adding all these materials have been taken in the case records for further investigation and probe their complicity in other cases.
β€œCitizens are requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any,” he added.



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