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Day 8: Encounter on, 5 militants dead
SRINAGAR, July 6: With militant death toll reaching to five in the past one week, the encounter between militants and security forces today entered eighth day in north Kashmir's Kupwara district. Several houses were damaged in the exchange of fire while seven security personnel sustained injuries in the ensuing gun battle that started on June 30.

A contact between militants and security forces was established once again near Boban village, which falls in densely forested Rajwar in Handwara- Kupwara belt, more than 70 km north of Srinagar.

“The contact was established with the terrorists last night and, in the ensuing encounter, one unidentified terrorist, likely to be a foreigner, has been killed,” said army spokesman JS Brar to media.

In the fresh skirmishes, two houses were also destroyed. “The body of one terrorist has been recovered. It’s likely that more terrorists holed up in the houses have been killed,” said Brar.

In the last one week, five militants, whom the army believed were foreigners, have been killed at two encounter sites in the same forest range. The identity of the slain terrorist has not been established.

On Thursday, the army claimed to have killed three suspected militants in Mankal forests in Nowgam sector.

“The two encounter sites are far off from each other. It seems the batch of militants, which mostly comprises more than four persons, have fanned out. The two encounter sites are divided by a ridge,” said army’s 15 Corps spokesman Brijesh Pandey.

North Kashmir is witnessing a heightened militancy with Lashkar-e-Tayyeba making fresh recruitment. Since June, the police have claimed to arrest seven militants in Sopore, adjacent to Handwara.

Many were fresh recruits to be sent across to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for arms training by only surviving Pakistani militant commander Fahadullah, according to the police.

Yesterday, three militants were killed while a soldier and Special Operations Group (SOG) personnel sustained injuries. Army had said that soldiers of 1 Naga Regiment spotted four suspected persons in Mankel forests of Nowgam Sector in Handwara area. The encounter, according to army had intensified in the morning.

The army later recovered the bodies and weapons. Army had told media persons that three AK-47 Rifles, One Pistol, One Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL), some Indian currency, two compasses, one Global Positioning System, grenades and some other ammunition were recovered from the slain militants.

In another encounter that started Thursday evening, heavily armed militants had opened fire on a joint search party in Bawan forests of Zachaldara area. A soldier of 21 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and a personnel of Special Operations Group (SOG) of police sustained critical injuries in the initial round of firing.

The army had said that at least two militants were holed up in forests. “Soldiers and SOG men were searching the forests for past four days. But the contact was established this evening,” he said. “Both the injured personnel were evacuated and brought to Srinagar military hospital in an Army helicopter,” the army had told media persons.

News Updated at : Saturday, July 7, 2012
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