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3 killed in J&K encounter

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
April 01, 2008 20:25 IST
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Two top Hizbul Mujahideen commanders and a civilian were among three persons killed in a fierce south Kashmir gunfight on Monday evening.

Police said troops of 3 Rashtriya Rifles, the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force and the Special Operations Group of the state police on a specific tipoff surrounded a house in Dudu Marhama village near Bejibehara town in south Kashmir's Anantnag district on Monday afternoon.

"As the security forces challenged the holed up militants, they opened indiscriminate automatic gunfire at the surrounding security forces, resulting in critical injuries to a trooper, who was shifted to hospital. His condition is critical," said a senior police officer.

"The firing was returned, and a fierce encounter started. Both the holed up militants -- including the divisional commander of Hizbul Mujahideen Aslam Khan alias Zia-ur-Rahman and the district commander of the outfit Javed Ahmad Lone alias Nazar -- were killed at the end of the encounter while the house owner identified as Abdul Rashid Khan was also killed in the crossfire," the officer added.

One civilian who was injured in the encounter was evacuated to hospital for treatment.

The police described the killing of the two militant commanders as a major success.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar