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Army officer and two militants among five killed in encounter

SRINAGAR: Militants shot dead an army officer and two policemen in a fierce overnight gun battle in Kupwara district in Jammu and Kashmir in which both the attackers were also killed.

Six security men and a woman were also injured in the encounter that broke out at village Zunrishi in Kralpora area, 120 km from here, last evening when a joint party of police and Army launched a search operation to flush out hiding militants, Police said Tuesday.

Police said the house where the militants had taken shelter was destroyed in the gun battle that ended this afternoon.

Bodies of both the militants and the two policemen, who were part of the search party, which stormed the house to neutralise the militants, were recovered from the debris of the building after the encounter ended, police said.

A Junior Commissioned Officer of the Army was killed and six security men - four policemen and two soldiers - and a woman were injured in the encounter, it said. The injured were shifted to hospital where condition of two policemen including an Assistant Sub-Inspector was stated to be ‘serious’, the officer said.

A police spokesman identified the slain security personnel as Army JCO Kakanvari, Head constable Mohammad Shafi and Constable Riyaz Ahmad.

The slain militants were stated to belonging to Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) and a huge cache of arms and ammunition was recovered from them, the spokesman said, adding the woman, Shahmaali Begum, had suffered injury in her leg and was hospitalised.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah condoled the death of security personnel in the encounter. In his condolence message to the bereaved families, Omar highlighted the bravery of jawans in combating militancy and protecting the lives and property of the people of the state.

The attack took place two days before voting in J and K is due to be held for the Lok Sabha elections. Security has been stepped up across the state, which will go to the polls in five stages between April 10 and May 7.