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 5 militants killed in Kulgam encounter

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Srinagar, Sep 15: Five Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militants were killed in an encounter Saturday in Kulgam district of south Kashmir, police said.

Government forces had launched a search operation late on Friday night in Chowgam area of Qazigund in south Kashmir's Kulgam district based on inputs about the presence of militants in the area, a police spokesman said.

He said during the search operation, militants fired on the search party triggering a gunfight during which five militants were killed.

This was a group of militants belonging to proscribed outfits Hizbul Mujahideen and LeT, the spokesman said.

He said the killed militants were identified as Gulzar Ahmad Paddar alias Saif, a resident of Adijan, Kulgam; Faisal Ahmad Rather alias Dawood  of Yamrach, Kulgam; Zahid Ahmad Mir alias Hashim of Okey, Kulgam; Masroor Molvi alias Abu Darda of Fatehpora, Anantnag; and Zahoor Ahmad Lone alias Rehman Bhai of Kulgam).

The spokesman said Paddar was a close associate of Altaf Kachroo, a top Hizb commander who was killed in an encounter in Anantnag last month.

"Paddar was involved in a series of attacks including the killings of five police personnel at Pambay last year (on May 01) along with two bank employees," the spokesman said, referring to the attack on a cash van of J&K Bank.

“Militants had then pulled five police personnel and two bank employees out of the van and shot them at point blank range,” the spokesman said.

He said Paddar was also involved in the killing of a special police officer (SPO) at Krewan Chidder in Kulgam.

"Besides, he was involved in looting police guards at Damhaal and weapon snatching cases reported across Kulgam and many other bank robbery cases attempted in the area," the spokesman said.

He said Mir was wanted for his involvement in the killing of policeman Fayaz Ahmad of Zainapora on Eid last month, while Rather was involved in the killing of policeman Gowhar Ahmad in Shopian last year.

"Lone and Molvi were involved in a series of offences besides recruitment bid in the locality," the police spokesman said.

Arms and ammunition were also seized from the site of encounter, the spokesman said.

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