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Five LeT militants killed in J&K

By Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar
Last updated on: March 14, 2009 21:53 IST
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Five militants of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba were killed across Jammu and Kashmir in two separate encounters on Saturday.

While three militants of the outfit were killed during the day-long mosque siege in the mountainous Kishtwar district of Jammu region, two more militants were killed in north Kashmir's Kupwara district.

Security forces surrounded a mosque in Kishtwar to flush out three holed up militants early today morning.

The three militants took shelter in the mosque after an exchange of fire with Rashtriya Rifles troopers and the police in Sarawan village, nearly 250 km from Jammu.

A senior police officer said efforts were made to persuade the holed up militants "to come out and surrender".

"The militants, however, continued to fire at the surrounding troops. One militant was killed initially, after he jumped out of the mosque to escape the security cordon," the officer said.

The remaining two died later this afternoon in the firing, according to the officer.

Kishtwar district magistrate Gurdev Raj Bhagat said the mosque had been "slightly damaged during the gun battle".

In another encounter, security forces shot dead two LeT militants during an operation at Handwara in north Kashmir's Kupwara district on Saturday.

The police said that arms and ammunition including two AK-47 rifles were recovered from the encounter site.

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Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar