Top LeT commander Junaid Matoo among 3 terrorists, 2 stone pelters killed in Kulgam
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR: In an unprecedented terror strike, terrorists of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba on Friday gunned down six personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir
Police, including a Station House Officer, before they left the bodies disfigured with extensive firing and looted their weapons near Achhabal in Anantnag district, in South Kashmir, even as three terrorists of the same outfit and two stone pelting civilians got killed in an operation in Kulgam district.
Slain cops disfigured with extensive firing,
all of their weapons looted
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Munir Khan, told STATE TIMES that at around 6.30 PM, a Police party of Police Station Achhabal, led by SHO Sub Inspector Feroz Ahmad Dar, was ambushed by a group of 5 heavily-armed terrorists of LeT, headed by Bashir Lashkari, near Thajiwara. “All the six men in the plain Police Gypsy got trapped and none of them could come out when the terrorists in ambush emptied magazines of AK-47 rifles on them, killing them all on the spot”, IGP said. He said that even after all the six members of the Police party were dead, terrorists sprayed volleys of bullets on them and left the bodies disfigured. They looted all four of their AK-47 rifles and a pistol and escaped.
CM anguished over killings
SRINAGAR: Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti has expressed deep anguish over the killing of two civilians and two policemen across Kashmir valley during the past 24 hours. The Chief Minister said she has reiterated it time and again that violence and innocent killings would lead the State only to a cobweb bloodletting and destruction and uncertainty rather than paving the way for any peaceful solution. Mehbooba said she has been warning of the dangerous consequences of violence time and again and appealed the civil society to rise to the occasion to make the future of JK’s younger generation peaceful. She conveyed her sympathies to the bereaved families. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Nirmal Singh condemned the killing of Jawan at Nawshera sector as well as the two police men who killed in separate incidents in Valley. The Deputy Chief Minister said that these incidents are condemnable and the forces responsible for these kind of incidents would be given a befitting reply. While expressing sympathies with the braved families, the Deputy CM prayed for peace to the departed souls.
IGP said that SHO Feroz was a resident of Awantipora. He said five of the slain Policemen were from South Kashmir and one was from Chadoura area of Budgam district. He said that immediately after this incident, J&K Police, in coordination with Army and CRPF had launched a covert operation to trace out and eliminate all the terrorists responsible for killing six Police personnel.
IGP dismissed unofficial reports of the 15 terrorists having reached there in a car as “baseless” and claimed that only five gunmen had ambushed the Police party. “We are getting all of them identified. We are sure to bring them all to justice very soon”, IGP Munir Khan asserted. “We are very much prepared for some more of such attacks on us as we have left them unnerved with a series of operations and killed a number of them in recent weeks. We will intensify our operation and restore peace to the Valley as our Police and security forces are in high spirits and we have full support of the masses”, IGP asserted.
Even as a large numbers of encounters and ambushes have taken place on the right hand side of Srinagar-Jammu highway in Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam districts, excluding Noorabad and Devsar segments but including Tral on the left hand side, it was for the first time in the last over 15 years that such kind of an audacious terror strike occurred on the left side in Anantnag district. It made clear that while lying low in that belt, terrorists have reclaimed their base across the highway. Today’s terror strike has brought fresh security concerns for protection of the annual Amarnath Yatra that is scheduled to commence from June 29.
The slain policemen have been identified as SHO Feroz Ahmed Dar, son of Ab Raheem Dar resident of Dogripora ,Tehsil Awantipora,Distt. Pulwama at present Sangam Bijbehara; Constables Shariq Ahmed , Tasveer Ahmed and Sharaz Ahmed; SPOs Mohammed Asif and Sabzar Ahmed.
Earlier in the day, three terrorists and two civilian stone pelters got killed in a joint operation of Police and security forces at Arwani in Kulgam district. DIG South Kashmir, Swayam Prakash Pani, told STATE TIMES that all three of the holed up terrorists were believed to have died. He said that amid intense clashes between the security forces and the residents of some adjoining villages who gathered to disrupt the operation, Police and forces blew up an identified house with IEDs and brought it down.
“We have put two JCBs on the job of removing the debris. We are sure that the three holed up terrorists got killed but can give official confirmation only after the bodies are recovered. As of now, we haven’t spotted or recovered any human bodies”, DIG South Kashmir said. He said that according to a specific information available with the Police and security forces, three local LeT cadres, including the most wanted Junaid Matoo, had got trapped. “We are sure none of them managed to escape”, DIG asserted.
IGP Munir Khan said that when the security forces were in the thick of a gunbattle with the militants, another group of the terrorists appeared in close vicinity of the encounter sight and began firing intermittently towards the troops from across a river. He said that scores of residents formed a human shield for the second group of the militants. IGP claimed that two local civilians, who were identified as Mohammad Ashraf Ahangar of Khar Mohalla, Arwani, and Ehsan Ahmad of Shamsipora, got killed in “cross-firing” as the terrorists kept firing from two directions.
In a statement, LeT confirmed death of Junaid Matoo and two other local cadres besides the death of two civilians. In a statement, LeT claimed responsibility of today’s terror strike at Thajiwara, Achhabal.
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