Friday, May 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

12 infiltrators shot

Srinagar, May 22
A day after Pakistan imposed restrictions on the activities of the Hizbul Mujahideen in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) troops scuttled a major infiltration bid when they killed 12 heavily armed militants in Nowgam sector today.

A Defence Ministry spokesperson told UNI that the troops guarding the northern sector noticed a group of militants sneaking into Nowgam sector from PoK. “When challenged at Toomargali near the Line of Control (LoC) on our side, militants opened fire on troops and hurled grenades,” he added.

The troops returned the fire and in the ensuing clash 12 infiltrators were killed, the spokesperson said.

This is the first major infiltration attempt after the melting of the snow on mountain routes in the border area this year.

The spokesperson said the entire forest area near the LoC had been cordoned off and a massive hunt had been launched to nab other members of the group if any.

Regarding the identity of the militants, he said most likely they were foreigners.

The spokesperson said efforts were being made to bring the bodies of slain militants to a nearby camp as the area couldnot be reached by helicopter since it was very close to the LoC.

According to PTI some more militants, who were part of the group, managed to escape and are believed to have taken shelter in the nearby woods, the spokesman said, adding that operation was on to flush out the remaining militants.

Meanwhile, two militants of the Hizbul Mujahideen were among three persons killed while four were injured in the Kashmir valley in the past 24 hours.

An official spokesman said militants hurled a hand grenade towards the Saint Luke Convent missionary school in south Kashmir district of Anantnag last evening. Two teachers on way to the school were injured as the grenade exploded near the main gate of the building.

One of the injured, Kamlesh from West Bengal, later died on way to the hospital while another teacher Mary was admitted in a critical condition.

Panic gripped the down town today when militants fired upon a three wheeler at Naid Kadal. Driver Shabir Ahmad Akhoon and passenger Shabnum were injured in the firing and were later hospitalised.

The spokesman said security forces killed a Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militant during a search operation at Yaripora Kulgam in south Kashmir last night, while the body of another militant of the same group Bashir Ahmad Dar was recovered at Chowgal in Kupwara today.

Militants also shot at and wounded one Mohammad Ramzan Sheikh at Hamchipora Khag in central Kashmir district of Badgam last night. UNI

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