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J&K: Colonel killed, 2 jawans hurt in encounter

By Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar
Last updated on: December 23, 2006 18:39 IST
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A senior army officer was killed and two army troopers seriously wounded on Saturday in a fierce gun battle at Tilgam village, 45 kms from Srinagar in north Kashmir's Baramulla district.

Police said on a specific information about presence of three top Lashkar-e-Tayiba militants in Tilgam village, troops of 29 Rashtriya Rifles moved in on Saturday morning, cordoning off the village to carry out searches.

"As the troops of 29 RR, led by their commanding officer, tried to enter a house in Tilgam village, the holed up militants sprayed bullets at the raiding party," Colonel Hemant Juneja, spokesman of 15 Corps told newsmen.

He said, "In the heavy firing exchanges, the commanding officer of 29 RR, Colonel G S Sarna was critically injured along with two of his bodyguards."

"Colonel Sarna succumbed to his injuries in the hospital where he had been shifted for treatment," the spokesman said.

Authorities rushed additional reinforcements to the encounter site where the surrounding troops have engaged the holed up militants in a sustained gun battle.

"Heavy firing exchanges are continuing. The cordon around the village has been tightened further so that the holed up militants don't escape during the night," said a police officer.

On Friday, militants ambushed a convoy of the army in Sopore, 54 kms from Srinagar. Two civilians were killed in the firing exchanges, while five others, including a civilian and four army troopers, were wounded.

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Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar