4 cops, LeT commander killed in gunbattle

23 March 2008
The Indian Express
Bashaarat Masood

Srinagar: Four Jammu and Kashmir Police and CRPF personnel were killed in a fierce gun battle on the outskirts of Srinagar on Sunday. A Lashkar-e-Toiba divisional commander was also killed in the gunfight. Srinagar SSP Afad-ul-Mujtaba had a narrow escape even as his driver was killed. This is the first encounter in Srinagar this year. In fact, militants announced their return to Srinagar barely four days ago when they triggered a massive IED close to the Secretariat and J-K High Court, breaking a six month lull. “Three of our men and a CRPF constable were killed in the operation. A top LeT commander, involved in high profile attacks, was also killed,” Mujtaba said. The militant has been identified as Abu Faisal. His accomplice, however, managed to escape. On Sunday morning, police raided the militant hide-out at Telbal, in the suburbs. As the security personnel zeroed in on the target, Faisal and his accomplice hurled a grenade, jumped from the second floor of the house and opened indiscriminate fire. In the initial burst of fire, two policemen, who had cordoned the house, were killed. As the militants saw the vehicle of SSP, they rushed towards it firing indiscriminately. Though the SSP was shielded by his Personal Security Officers, a bullet killed his driver. The J-K Police suffered heavy casualty as a holed-up woman and child restrained them from retaliating. The police evacuated the civilians from the area before launching an offensive.