The security forces today recovered the bodies of three militants, including top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Junaid Mattoo, at Arwani village in Bijbehara, a day after a massive encounter. Arms, ammunition, magazines and grenades were recovered from the site.
The gunfight broke out at 10 AM on Friday, in which 10 other civilians were also injured.
The encounter started after security forces, including army personnel, cordoned off a house at Malik Mohalla in Arwani village following an intelligence tip-off that three militants were present inside. Security forces cordoned off the house by 8 am on Friday and there was a patient wait for two hours before the first fire came from the house at 10 AM.
"The bodies of the three militants who were killed in an encounter with police and security forces in Arwani village were recovered," a police spokesman said.
"Other militants killed in the encounter were Nasir Wani and Adil Mushtaq Mir."
Junaid, a notorious local militant was district commander and took part in a number of militant activities. He was involved in the killing of a police constable on Thursday in Kulgam's Bogund area, the spokesman said.
"Junaid was also involved in the killing of an assistant sub-inspector and a constable near a bus stand in Anantnag last year," he said.
"Nasir and Adil had joined the LeT last year."
Two civilians were also killed and 10 others injured in clashes with the security forces. Mohammad Ashraf Khar (34) was killed in crossfire when the encounter started at 10 am. Ahsan Mushtaq (15) was killed after he was hit by bullets near the site of the encounter, a police official said. It was, however, not clear whether the duo were part of the stone-pelting mob who tried to disrupt the anti- militancy operation in the village, the police said.
The accompanying teams of the local police and CRPF used tear gas shells and resorted to firing pellets after the crowd began hurling stones at the troops, thereby, hampering the counter-insurgency operation.
Following the civilian killings, clashes broke out between protesters and security forces at nearly a dozen places in the Valley, including Jamia Masjid in downtown Srinagar, Tral, Pampore, Pulwama town and Anantnag in south Kashmir, Hajin in Bandipora and Sopore in Baramulla in north Kashmir.
Later in the evening, LeT terrorists ambushed a police party in the outskirts of Anantnag district of South Kashmir, killing six policemen.
The terrorists, in apparent revent attempt, shot at the policemen with their assault rifles after overpowering them. The terrorists first overpowered them, then fatally shot them in their faces from close range and escaped with their weapons.
Meanwhile, authorities imposed restrictions in Srinagar and other parts of the Kashmir Valley as the separatists have called for a protest shutdown on Saturday.