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13 terrorists killed in high altitude-shootout in J&K

By Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar
October 03, 2008 15:40 IST
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In one of the longest and fiercest gunfights in recent times, 13 terrorists and an army trooper have been killed in the high altitude region around Chammar Sar Lake in the north Kashmir's Bandipore district.

Addressing a media conference, General-Officer-Commanding of the Kilo Force Major General VSS Goudar said, "Based on specific information that terrorists were moving from Bandipore to Kangan valley through the high altitude region over the indomitable Harmukh range, army troops consisting of the 10 Paras, 14 Rashtriya Rifles, 5 RR, 24 RR were mobilized by air and foot on September 24, with a view to intercept the terrorists around the Chammar Sar lake."

"Contact was established with the terrorists at 1715 hours on September 25, across the Harmukh ridge towards the Kangan valley in the higher reaches," the GOC (Kilo Force) which is the army's elite counter insurgency unit said.

"Taking advantage of the rocks, folds in the ground and caves, the militants took shelter while engaging the troops. In the ensuing fire fight 13 militants were killed, and the operation was terminated on October 1, even though clearing operations to catch those still trapped in the caves is still on," he said.

The GOC said, "The identity of the terrorists can only be ascertained once the operations are completed. The area has been cordoned off and deliberate clearing operations are continuing. The operation is being conducted in inhospitable, harsh and treacherous terrain at altitudes ranging upto 15000 feet where some of the ravines receive snowfall on a daily basis."

In a statement the army said,'Recoveries made from the slain terrorists so far are 11 AK-47 rifles, 27 magazines, 387 rounds and two satellite phones.'

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Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar