M A I N   N E W S

Jammu hostage drama ends
Three militants, 3 captives killed in gunbattle
Tribune News Service & PTI

Jammu, August 27
Security forces tonight killed the last of the three militants who held seven persons four children and three women captive in a house on the city outskirts, ending a 19-hour hostage drama and gunbattle.

However, there was no official word as yet on the fate of the hostages inside the two-storeyed house at Chinore on the city outskirts, 20 km from the International Border with Pakistan.

Jammu SSP Manohar Singh said the lone militant who had held out was killed shortly before midnight.

Earlier in the evening, security forces killed two of the three militants who had
taken the children aged between three and nine years, their mother and two other
women, hostage.

After eliminating all ultras, security forces launched a search operation in the house to ascertain if booby traps had been laid, the SSP said.

One militant was killed in the early stage of the encounter that began around 7 a.m. today and the second terrorist was shot dead in the evening after a three-hour lull in the gunbattle, Jammu IGP K. Rajendra told reporters.

Shortly before curtains came down on the hostage drama, the mother of the children was allowed to move out of the house and she told the security forces not to do anything which would endanger the lives of the hostages.

IGP Kuldip Khoda said the second militant was killed while he was trying to escape under the cover of darkness.

The militants, who were suspected by the police to have infiltrated across the border under the cover of firing by Pakistani forces yesterday, first came in a goods carrier and attacked an Army checkpost in the Domana-Mishriwala area on the Jammu-Akhnoor-Poonch highway this morning, killing two civilians, a jawan identified as Havildar Vijay Kumar and a JCO Naik Subedar V.V. K. Paarkashan.

After this, the militants in khaki uniform hijacked an autorickshaw and took refuge in a house belonging to a man identified as Billu Ram but not before resorting to indiscriminate firing in which a fourth person was killed. Three jawans were also injured, an Army spokesman said.

The police said one woman was earlier rescued from the house. Security personnel surrounded the house and took up positions on its roof.

The police said efforts to rescue the hostages were hampered because there was only one entrance on the ground floor of the residential building.

The operation to flush out the militants was planned in such a way to avoid any civilian casualties, officials said.

After the killing of the two militants in the house, a third terrorist kept on firing on security forces in the crowded area.

Authorities evacuated the densely populated neighborhood where the militants
were holed up.



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