35-40 foreign, 16-17 local militants active in northern districts: DIG North Kashmir

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At least three Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants including two foreigners were killed in a day-long gunfight in Sopore area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, said Deputy Inspector General (DIG) north Kashmir Range, Muhammad Suliaman Choudhary.

Addressing media, Mr. Choudhary added that a “major threat has been averted” after the killing of these militants, as “the arms and ammunition recovered from the slain militants also indicate that they were planning something big,” reported a local news agency, Kashmir News Observer (KNO).

He identified the two among the three slain militants as Usman Bhai and Saifullah, adding that the identification of the third militant is being ascertained. “Usman Bhai was involved in the recent attack in model town Sopore in which one CRPF [Central Reserve Police Force] man a civilian were killed. The duo foreign militants were active here from last two years,” he said.

On the presence of foreign militants in north Kashmir, the DIG north Kashmir said that as per their reports, 35 to 40 foreign militants are operating in northern districts, in addition to about 16 or 17 local militants. “There are fluctuating reports, but as per the reports available at present, nearly seven militants who are active in north Kashmir may have infiltrated in last some months,” he added.

“Post abrogation of Article 370 last year, attempts are being from across the Line of Control to create a narrative and put Kashmir on boil here,” he said. “The militants active in Kashmir attacked fruit merchants, civilians, and non-local labourers. But people have been quite cooperative and thus helped us to decrease the graph of militant recruitment.”

“The youth who picked up arms since last year were either killed or arrested while many have been saved from joining the militant ranks,” he said, adding “we are trying to ensure the youth will not join the militant ranks and people have been cooperating in this regard.”

5 sector commander of Army, Vivek Narang, who was accompanying the DIG north Kashmir, said that “many of the infiltration attempts have been foiled by the forces along LoC. At present, some 250-300 militants are ready on launch pads to infiltrate. But we are ready to foil their attempts.” (KNO)

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