Three militants killed in Jammu and Kashmir gun-battles (Lead)

March 28th, 2009 - 10:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar/Jammu, March 28 (IANS) Three guerrillas were killed in two separate gunfights with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir Saturday amid growing fears that cross-border militant and arms incursions have intensified ahead of the polls.
Two guerrillas were killed in a gunfight in a south Kashmir forest while the third was gunned down in a shootout in Rajouri, officials said.

The army and the police in a joint search operation surrounded a south Kashmir forest near Awantipore, about 30 km from Srinagar, a police officer said, adding, “The operation was launched on specific information about the presence of guerrillas.”

The security forces came under a heavy fire from the militants when the joint team was conducting search operations, the police officer said. “In the subsequent gunfight, two unidentified guerrillas were killed.”

One guerrilla was killed in a shootout in the jungles of Dharmsal in the frontier district of Rajouri, about 160 km north of Jammu, a defence spokesman said.

The spokesman said the shootout erupted when army troops were conducting a search operation in village Bravi Baji Mahal.

One AK47 rifle, three magazines, two phones and one wireless set were recovered from the slain militant, the spokesman said.

The gunfights come amid reports that a large number of militants and ammunition from Pakistan have either been smuggled or were waiting to cross into Jammu and Kashmir to target the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Earlier this week, at least 17 militants and eight army troops were killed in a six-day long battle in a forest area in north Kashmir.

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