Lashkar commander, associate killed in Srinagar gunfight

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A top Lashkar-e-Toiba militant and his associate were killed and an army personnel was injured in a gunfight in Ranbirgarh-Panzinara area in the outskirts of Srinagar on Saturday.

An unnamed police spokesperson told a local news agency, Global News Service (GNS), that on a specific input regarding the presence of the militants in the area, a joint cordon-and-search-operation was launched by the police, army’s 29 Rashtriya Rifles, and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

“As the presence of [militants] got ascertained, they were given the opportunity to surrender. However they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter,” he said.

In the ensuing gunfight, two militants were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of gunfight, he said.

While the spokesperson said that the identification and affiliation of the slain was being ascertained, the police in a tweet identified the slain duo as Ishfaq Rashid, a resident of Sozeith Srinagar who “was one of top LeT commanders active since 2018 and wanted in many cases of (militant) violence.”

The other militant, Aijaj Ahmad Bhat, was “important LeT cadre from Pulwama district.” Unnamed official sources told GNS that the army personnel was injured in the initial phase of the gunfight as he was hit with a bulletin in a leg. The injured was removed to hospital and his condition is stated to be stable, they said.

Meanwhile, the police spokesperson said that incriminating materials including arms and ammunitions were recovered from the site of encounter. “All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other crimes,” he said, adding, “There was no injury to civilians or loss of property during the encounter.”

The bodies of the killed militants were sent to Ganderbal for their last rites after conducting medico-legal formalities. (GNS)

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