Sunday, October 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

2 holed-up militants shot dead
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 18
The security forces shot dead the two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants holed up in a shopping complex here this morning thus ending a 24-hour encounter which began with the attack on the residence of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Friday morning.

The first militant was killed at 8 a.m. when he tried to escape from the complex. The second, who put up a stiff resistance, was finally eliminated at 10.30.

As the gunfight, during which militants hurled grenades at security forces who retaliated by firing mortar shells, raged, two civilians of Nepali origin were evacuated from the shopping complex. The death toll in the encounter went up to four, which included two BSF jawans, who were killed in the initial attack, and two militants.

Twentysix security personnel, including 19 BSF men and seven police personnel, were also injured during the 24-hour long operation. No civilian was injured and minimal damage was caused to business establishments located in the shopping complex.

Thirtyseven civilians who were trapped in the shopping complex had been evacuated safely before the police and BSF stormed the complex to flush out the militants this morning. The entire operation concluded at 10.30 this morning.

The militants, according to intelligence sources, belonging to the Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit hailed from Pakistan. They have been identified as Abu Abdullah and Abu Usama.

A police spokesman, without giving identity of the militants, here said that two AK rifles and eight hand grenades were recovered from the site of the encounter. Four officials of the Industrial Training Institute were injured when ultras set off an improvised explosive device in Badgam district of central Kashmir today.


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