Two terrorists killed in Jammu gun battle (Third lead)

August 28th, 2008 - 12:57 am ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Aug 27 (IANS) Two militants holed up inside a house near here were killed in a gun battle though security forces late Wednesday preferred to tire out the sole terrorist remaining inside, not taking chances with the safety of the hostages including children. Three civilians and an army officer were killed in the operation.Security officials made it clear they would like to tire out the remaining militant rather than storm the house.

” For us the security of the hostages is most important,” senior superintendent of police (Jammu) Manohar Singh told IANS.

Among the hostages are children in the age group of two to nine. The youngest is Vipin Kumar, 2, while the other three children are Kajal, 4, Ishant 6 and Sheetal, 9. Their anxious father Billa Ram was waiting outside the house for the safe release of his children and wife.

The army sealed the whole of Chinore area and also put on the floodlights at the house, said an army officer. “This will give some confidence to the hostages inside the house that there are people still keeping watch over the militant who is holding them hostage,” said the officer.

“The area is fully sealed off by the soldiers,” the officer said.

The forces were battling the militants holed up in the building in Chinnore, on the outskirts of this Jammu and Kashmir winter capital, since morning.

Earlier in the day, security forces rescued three children and a woman from among the hostages.

The three militants took six civilians hostage in the morning.

The army confirmed the killing of the two militants but said they were still waiting for the final action.

“Our final assault will have to wait till either the inmates have been released by the militants or we are able to rescue them,” Maj. Gen. Darshan Lal Choudhary told reporters in the evening.

The police said three terrorists had crossed into Jammu and Kashmir from the Kanachak sector of the border with Pakistan Tuesday morning. They were intercepted at the police check post of Chinore Wednesday morning, about 20 km north from the centre of Jammu.

The militants, dressed in police uniforms and carrying AK-47 assault rifles, shot dead a junior commissioned officer and then hijacked a three-wheeler. They then fired indiscriminately, killing Shabeet Hussain, a milkman, and motorcyclist Naseeb Singh before killing the three-wheeler driver, Vijay Kumar, said the police.

The guerrillas then entered the house in Chinore. Police and army personnel cordoned off the area and were engaged in a gun battle with the militants.

Once the remaining hostages were rescued, there would be a “final onslaught”, said an army officer, which in military terms means blowing up the building with rocket launchers or explosives.

“This (civilian hostages) is what is holding us up from launching final onslaught. We are ready for that,” Gen. Choudhary told reporters.

Grenade explosions and gun shots were heard in the area as the single-storey building where the militants were hiding was perforated with bullet marks. But the firing died down throughout the afternoon. It was resumed late in the evening during which the second militant was killed.

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

This is the second major gun battle in Jammu region in less than three and a half months.

Six people were killed in Samba town, 40 km southwest of Jammu May 11.

According to defence sources, militants had infiltrated May 8 from across the international border in Samba sector before they surfaced May 11 morning and killed civilians and soldiers. Three militants were killed in that battle.

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