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10 dead as violence continues in J&K

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
September 05, 2006 15:20 IST
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Ten persons, including four army troopers and a top militant, were killed on Tuesday as violence continued across Jammu and Kashmir.

Police said a captain of the army was among the three troopers killed in an encounter in Bandipore, north Kashmir; the encounter was between security forces and militants and entered the third day on Tuesday.

Security forces had surrounded Aitmul village near Bandipore, 57 kms from Srinagar, acting on specific information about militant presence there. This resulted in a fierce gun battle, as security forces challenged the hiding militants to lay down their arms.

"So far three army men including a captain have been killed. Three militants were also gunned down. The operation is still on," a defence spokesman said.

Meanwhile, a top militant commander who was on the most wanted list of security forces was killed in an encounter at Gool village in Udhampur district of Jammu region Monday night.

The militant commander identified as Billo Gujjar of frontline Hizbul Mujaheedin carried a reward of Rs 5 lakh on his head.

The killing is seen by the police as a major success in their operations against the armed insurgents.

However, a soldier of the army and his brother were gunned down by militants inside their house at Khehipora near the health resort of Tangmarg on Monday night.

The trooper, identified as Abdul Rashid Bhat, had come home on leave when the militants struck. Police and security forces searched the area on Tuesday. Another youth was shot dead by militants in the apple-rich Sopore town on Monday evening, according to police.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar