Five killed as terrorists strike in Jammu and Kashmir (Lead)

August 27th, 2008 - 12:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Aug 27 (IANS) A soldier and a militant were killed in a gunbattle that ensued Wednesday between security forces and terrorists in Chinore on the outskirts of this winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir after the militants killed three civilians.”One junior commissioned officer (JCO), a militant and three civilians have been killed and at least five others, including two soldiers, have been injured,” a police officer told IANS.

Police said three terrorists had crossed into Jammu and Kashmir from the Kanachak sector of the international border Tuesday morning. The terrorists were traced to the police check post of Chinore, about 20 km north of Jammu, late Tuesday.

Police said the militants, dressed in police uniforms and carrying AK-47 assault rifles, entered a house in Chinore and have been hiding there. On their way to the house, they shot dead local milkman Shabit Hussain, the driver of the three-wheeler they were travelling in and another civilian who has not yet been identified.

Police and army personnel had cordoned off the area and were engaged in a gunbattle with the militants. The JCO was injured in the exchange of fire and later succumbed to his injuries.

A militant was also killed but his body has not been recovered as the other terrorists have been lobbing grenades from the house they are hiding in. People from adjoining buildings have been evacuated.

“We have not been able to ascertain whether there are any civilians inside the building and that is hampering our action against the militants,” an army officer told IANS.

“A high alert has been sounded in Jammu due to the infiltration by terrorists from across the international border,” Inspector General of Police (Jammu Zone) K. Rajendra said.

The Border Security Force (BSF), along with police and army personnel, had launched a massive manhunt for the militants, who had entered the Indian territory at Kanachak, about 20 km north of here, after cutting the barbed wire fence.

“This is a serious situation. The intruders sneaked into the Indian side under the cover of fire, which was most probably provided by the Pakistani Rangers,” a BSF official said.

The exchange of fire had lasted for nearly two hours until 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Security agencies are worried in view of the situation in Jammu.

People here have been holding rallies demanding the allocation of 40 hectares of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB). They plan a huge rally later Wednesday at the Parade Ground, which can accommodate tens of thousands, to give a momentum to their agitation, already in its 58th day.

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