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Civilian, 2 CRPF men, 2 cops killed in Handwara encounter

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Operation on, toll could be higher

Srinagar, Mar 01: Two CRPF personnel and two policemen were killed in an encounter with militants on Friday in Handwara area of north Kashmir's Kupwara district while a civilian died in clashes near the site, officials said.

Government forces launched a cordon and search operation in Khanan Babagund area of Handwara following information about presence of militants there, they said. A gunfight started after the militants opened fire on the government forces, who retaliated.

There was lull in firing several times during the day but militants would resume firing as soon as the forces advanced towards the house where they were hiding, the officials said. After one such interval, the militants, presumed to be dead, opened indiscriminate firing on the advancing team of forces’ personnel, the officials said.

Nine forces’ personnel were injured in the firing by the militants, they said adding five of them succumbed to injuries.

The slain personnel included two CRPF personnel and two policemen. Sources said that army too suffered some casualties, however, there was no official confirmation.

Clashes between a group of youth and government forces also ensued near the encounter site, during which a youth, identified as Waseem Ahmad Mir, son of Muhammad Akbar Mir of Sagipora Sopore, suffered severe injuries and was rushed to a hospital where the doctors declared him 'brought dead'.

Four more youth were also injured during clashes. Of them three were hit by pellets while one had suffered a gunshot wound in his leg, reports said.

Officials said the operation was in progress when reports last came in.

Police in a statement issued late evening said that two police personnel, two CRPF personnel and one individual sustained critical injuries and succumbed. The two police personnel have been identified as SgCt Naseer Ahmad Kholi and SgCt Ghulam Mustafa Barah and two CRPF personnel have been identified as Inspector Pintu and Ct Vinod.

In the nearby area one individual identified as Waseem Ahmad Mir also sustained bullet injury consequently succumbed at the hospital, said police.

The operation at Handwara is in progress and further details shall follow, added the police.

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