9 Pak militants, soldier killed in Valley
19 July 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Excelsior Special Correspondent
Srinagar: While as security forces have eliminated nine Pakistani militants and the body of a ''district commander'' of Al-Badr has been recovered in north Kashmir, militants have killed a soldier of Rashtriya Rifles in north Kashmir during last night. Informed sources in north Kashmir told EXCELSIOR that troops of 17-Artillery Brigade had laid a nocturnal ambush in Nowgam sector last evening, after receiving information that a group of Pakistani militants had infiltrated. In the wee hours today, the armed infiltrators fell in ambush. Five of them were killed in a fierce gunbattle. Three of the group are believed to have hidden themselves in the same forest cover. Defence sources sounded confidant that they too would be either captured or killed tonight. A letterhead, recovered from the slain militants, described one of them as Syed Anwar ''chief commander'' of Islami Tulba. Large quantity of arms and ammunition, including 5 AK-56 rifles, is claimed to have been recovered from the site of encounter, 15 Km short of LoC. Sources said that the combing operation was still in progress. According to official sources, all the five militants killed in the gunbattle were Pakistani cadres of Lashkar-e-Toiba, operating on a front name. In a statement, faxed from Muzzafarabad, a spokesman of Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, however, claimed that the militants intercepted were members of his organisation. He claimed that three militants of the group, including ''battalion commander'' Syed Anwar, managed to escape. The Jamiat spokesman claimed that the militants of the group were not infiltrators. Sources said that two unidentified militants have died in an encounter with security forces at Punzwa village, in Vilgam forest area of Kupwara district. Reports, awaiting confirmation, described them as Pakistani nationals. Meanwhile, dead body of a ''district commander'' of Al-Badr, namely Abu Usama, has been recovered from the Kandi forest cover, in Kupwara district. On June 17 last, he had sustained critical injuries in an encounter with security forces but had managed to escape. On that day, troops intercepted a radio communication of the militants which said that Usama and his bodyguard had attained martyrdom. However, no dead body had been spotted in the locality. Interestingly, alongside the body Police have recovered two .303 rifles and an SLR which a group of militants in Army uniform had looted from the house of a protected person, Mohammad Maqbool Bhat, resident of Hanjipora, Trehgam. At Dana Behak, in Aragam locality of Bandipore, troops of RR 14 Bn have eliminated two more militants of Al-Badr in a fierce encounter. They have been identified as Abdur Rehman alias Badshah Khan and Bilal Hyder alias Abu Baqir. Two SPOs, namely Khursheed Khan and Jalal-ud-din, have got injured in the clash. Reports from north Kashmir added that during last night, militants attacked a party of RR 46 Bn at Venkoora in Baramulla. One Naib Subedar of the unit got killed. Earlier, possibly the same group of militants had attacked a party of RR 28 Bn and left two soldiers injured.