Friday, February 18, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

Ikhwan chief killed in blast
SRINAGAR, Feb 17 (UNI) — Self-styled supreme commander of the counter-insurgent Ikhwan outfit Fayaz Ahmad and his associate were killed and two of his bodyguards injured in a mine blast at Sumbal, about 26 km from here, in north Kashmir today.

Elsewhere in the valley, a retired Head Constable was among five persons killed while a police officer escaped bid on life since last evening.

Meanwhile, business activity in the Civil Lines area was paralysed today in protest against police action after militants killed two BSF and a police constable yesterday.

Official sources said the supreme commander of counter-insurgency outfit Ikhwan Fayaz Ahmad and his associate Mohammad Shafi were killed and two others were seriously injured when the car in which they were travelling was blown-up after militants detonated a powerful improvised explosive device at Sumbal, around 10 a.m. today.

The injured were admitted to hospital, the sources said.

No militant outfit has so far claimed responsibility for the blast.

Sources said the militants fired at the guarded residential quarter of a police officer at Bijbehara in south Kashmir late last night. Guards posted there returned the fire but there were no reports of any casualties. The police officer and his family escaped unhurt in the attack.

  A body was found at Safapora today. It has been sent for identification.

An official spokesman said militants fired at a security force patrol near Nundreshi colony Bemina today. The forces retaliated and in the shootout two persons were killed.

The deceased had not been identified yet. However, a BSF spokesman said the forces killed two militants, including Nazir Kobra. But locals who took to streets alleged that the BSF men had killed two shopkeepers without any provocation.

Four security personnel were injured when militants detonated a mine at Bamloora Ganderbal on the outskirts of Srinagar today. Ali Mohammad was injured after forces returned the fire.

At least one person was killed and another injured when a blast took place at Faisalabad while one person was injured in a mine blast at Dehri Dabsi last evening.

Militants entered the house of a retired Head Constable Mohammad Rafiq and shot him dead at Gursian last evening.

The forces captured three militants and recovered some arms and ammunition in the Kashmir valley.

Shops and business establishments in busy shopping centres of Lal Chowk, Koker Bazar, Residency Road, Budshah Chowk, Maisuma, Red Cross Road, Maulana Azad Road, Madina Chowk and Gaw Kadal remained closed in protest against retaliatory action by police after militants killed two BSF and one police constable yesterday.

Shopkeepers alleged that the police had set on fire about a dozen shops, eight vehicles and also damaged 40 other vehicles at Maisuma, Budshah Chowk and Lal Chowk in protest against the killings. Traders federation alleged that in a similar action police looted shops and also beat up pedestrians at General Bus Stand Batmaloo, after militants killed a police constable on February 15.

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