Seven militants killed in Jammu and Kashmir (Lead)

November 8th, 2008 - 9:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Nov 8 (IANS) Seven suspected guerrillas, including a top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit, were killed Saturday in two gunfights with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, a defence official said.Four militants were killed in a forested area of Doda and three were gunned down when they were allegedly attempting to inflitrate into the Indian side across the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch.

The brigadier general staff of 16 Corps, Brig. Gurdeep Singh, said the army and the state police cordoned off a forested area of Dessa in Doda district following a tip off about the presence of a group of militants there. Dessa is 180 km northeast of Jammu.

“Four militants, including a deputy commander Hashim Khan, of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit were killed,” Singh said.

In a related incident, Singh said, the army spotted a group of militants attempting to cross the LoC through Saujian in the Poonch district.

“Three militants were killed in the shootout while one soldier sustained minor ankle injury,” he said. The gun battle took place 200 metres inside the Indian territory, he added. The officer said that the army is conducting a search operation for a fourth militant suspected to be part of the group.

“The identification of the infiltrators will be done once the operation concludes, but they all are from Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) outfit,” he added.

He described the operations as “success” for the security forces who have mounted offensive against militants in the run up to the state assembly election. The seven-phased election in the state begins Nov 17.

The security forces are on high alert in the troubled state to prevent any attempt by militants during or ahead of elections to mark disruptions.

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