Srinagar, July 01: Three fighter and a cop were killed while as a paramilitary trooper and a Special Operations Group (SOG) personnel sustained injuries in an encounter at Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday.

Brig Deepak Banerjee Commander Ist Sector RR, who was supervising the operation, said over telephone that following the specific information about the presence of militants army’s 42 RR, CRPF and SOG jointly cordoned off the Maldoora area of Tral in Pulwama.

“Soldiers challenged the suspects but they opened fire which was retaliated, triggering a gunfight,” he said, adding that the operation was done with the aim to prevent any collateral damage.

He claimed that during the operation, adequate chance was given to the militants to surrender despite the joint part coming under heavy volume of fire.

The encounter, according to the Brigadier, intensified in the morning. “The gunfight ended with killing of three militants, but searches are still on and we have not called off the operation yet,” he added.

He said that army has recovered the bodies and weapons and called the police. “We are also trying to ascertain the identity of slain militants.”

The official said that three AK 47 Rifles and some other ammunition were recovered from the slain militants.

Five forces’ personals were also injured in the gunfight, police sources said.

The first militant, who died battling armed forces, was identified as Shahnawaz Ahmad, while militants also shot dead a cop, who belonged to police’s counter-insurgency wing (SOG).

The slain fighter is the resident of Dadsara Tral.

Forces stepped up operation against the militants, who were holed up in a house.

The militants continued firing on the forces despite of offer for surrender. The armed forces, in order to eliminate militants who refused to surrender, raised the house to ground after blowing it.

The two militants were yet to be identified, but sources told The New Indian Express that they too are locals.

The injured forces men were shifted to hospital, where their condition is said to be ‘stable’. Among five of the injured personals, three were identified as Sub-Inspector Jaswant Singh, Manoj Kumar and Constable Manzoor Ahmad, police sources said.

Meanwhile, militant outfit Hizb-ul-Mujahideen said Shahnawaz belonged to HM and also claimed responsibility for killing SOG man in Tral. The spokesman of the outfit told local news gathering agency CNS over phone, “We also shot dead a SOG man.”

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