Two militants killed, mosque siege ends
9 February 2002
Srinagar: A 20-hour siege of a mosque in Kupwara district ended early today after the Army gunned down two Pakistani militants from Sialkote in a heavy exchange of fire when they tried to escape. The two militants owing allegiance to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad, including a self-styled district commander of the outfit, were killed around 4.30 a.m. after a shoot-out which also damaged a portion of the mosque at Tutigund in north Kashmir, 72 km from here, a defence spokesman said. A water tank and the adjoining bathrooms of the mosque were damaged, he said. A civilian was also killed during the siege which began after the militants took shelter in Jamia Masjid around 8.30 a.m. yesterday, the spokesman said. Security forces swung into action after the holed up militants refused to surrender and instead continued firing at troops. The dead militants were identified as Ghulam Shakoor alias Abu Danyal alias Abu Hamza Baba, self-styled district commander of JeM, and Shabir alias Rashid, both residents of Sialkote in Pakistan. The militants tried to escape but were cornered by the troops near the “hamam” (tank supplying hot water to the mosque) of the mosque and were shot dead. Two AK rifles with 12 magazines, one UBGL (Under Barrel Grenade Launcher) with six grenades, 12 hand grenades and two pouches were recovered from the militants who turned down several appeals to surrender and engaged the securitymen in a fierce gunbattle, the spokesman said. This is the second incident of militants taking shelter inside a mosque in north Kashmir in five days. Earlier on 3 February, two Hizbul Mujahideen militants remained holed up for two days inside a mosque at Tarzoo village in Sopore area of Baramulla district and finally surrendered.