8 infiltrating militants killed in Machhil
6 June 2006
The Daily Excelsior
Excelsior Special Correspondent
Srinagar: While Police and security forces tonight eliminated a top- wanted 'District Commander' of Hizbul Mujahideen in Bijbehara area of Anantnag district, troops have intercepted a thick group of infiltrating militants and killed at least 8 of them near LoC in Machhil sector of Kupwara district. Official sources told the EXCELSIOR that working over a specific information, District Police Anantnag, District Police Kulgam and troops of Sector-1 Rashtriya Rifles launched a cordon-and-search operation at Tulkhan hamlet in Bijbehara area of Anantnag district late this evening. During the operation, an encounter took place between the holed up militants and security forces at 9.45 p.m. in which one militant escaped to another house but a top-wanted 'District Commander' of Hizbul Mujahideen got killed. He was identified as Mushtaq Ahmed Wani alias Khalid S-o G M Wani R-o Redwani, Kulgam. Sources said that Khalid was an IED expert who was allegedly responsible for hundreds of militant strikes all over the Valley, particularly in Anantnag- Pulwama belt of south Kashmir. According to officials, Khalid was responsible for firing on legs and chopping off hands and other organs of a number of his targets in addition to over 20 civilian killings and innumerable guerrilla operations against Police, security forces, their informers and mainstream political activists. Meanwhile, in a major operation, Army today killed eight militants who were trying to infiltrate near Machhil sector in north Kashmir while as a huge cache of arms and ammunition was also recovered from Gurez. Defense spokesman Lt Col V K Batra today said that troops guarding the barbed LoC near Machhil sector in Kupwara last night, spotted suspicious movement from across, following which the troopers got alerted. He said it was noticed that a group of militants was trying to sneak through LoC from across under the cover of darkness. 'When militants were spotted sneaking through, the troopers challenged them following which, they (militants) opened fire on the Army with assault weapons,' Lt Col Batra told the EXCELSIOR. The fire was returned and in the ensuing gun battle, which continued for several hours, all the infiltrators were gunned down. The surgically conducted operation left no chance for the group of militants to escape or react and led to the elimination of eight hardcore militants and recovery of a large quantum of arms, ammunition, explosives and warlike stores, being smuggled into the Valley, he said. In the search operation, which was still in progress till reports last came, Army recovered eight bodies and eight AK assault rifles, ten magazines, 160 rounds of AK ammunition and ten grenades of 'Pakistan make'. He said searches are being conducted to make sure that there is no militant hiding in the area. Sources said that it was second major infiltration bid by militants from the other side since the snow started melting. Last month, six heavily armed militants were killed when they entered into this side from PoK in Rangwar sector. Sources in the meantime, said that a militant hideout was busted in Gurez, Kupwara. A major cache of arms, ammunition, grenades, explosives and other war like stores, suspected to have been smuggled through the higher reaches of Gurez from PoK for the militant groups operating in the Valley, were recovered from the hideout. The recoveries include 14 AK assault rifles, 6000 rounds of ammunition, one Radio Set, 8 UBGLs, 30 Magazines, eight kgs of RDX and other explosives, 17 IEDs and a large quantity of remote switches, timing devices, war like stores - packed and stored in seven rucksacks. Defense sources in a press statement said that the recoveries come close on the heels of spurt in militant attacks recently in the Valley and depleting snow levels on ridges and passes. Army has foiled a major attempt by militants to raise the 'level of violence in the Valley', they said. Statement added that the area of Gurez is generally used by militants and their couriers to transship arms, ammunitions and stores for sustenance of militants. Meanwhile, one militant was killed and a civilian injured during an exchange of firing between militants and troopers in Dangarpora, Sopore. Troops of 52 RR, acting on a specific tip off, laid a cordon around an orchard in Dangarpora, Sopore, following which an encounter broke out between the militant and the troopers. One militant whose identification wasn't established was killed while as a civilian, Imtiyaz Ahmed Shah of Dangarpora, Sopore was injured in the cross firing. Army recovered an IED near Chandanwari, Pahalgam on the track of Amarnath Yatra, which will start from 11th of this month. The IED was later defused by a bomb disposal squad.