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3 Hizb militants, Army soldier killed in encounter in Pulwama

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Srinagar: Three Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militants and an Army soldier were killed on Saturday in a gunfight in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, police said.

A search operation was launched by security forces on a specific input regarding the presence of militants in Zadoora village in south Kashmir, a police spokesman said.

He said during the operation, “when the presence of militants was ascertained they were given an opportunity to surrender. However, the militants fired upon the joint search party of the forces which retaliated.

“In the ensuing encounter, three militants were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site,” the police spokesman said.

He identified the slain militants as Adil Hafiz, Arshid Ahmad Dar and Rouf Ahmad Mir, all residents of Pulwama, who were affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen outfit.

During the encounter, an Army soldier also received critical injuries and he was shifted to hospital for treatment where he succumbed, the spokesman said.

He said the slain militants had a long history of involvement in militancy and were part of groups involved in planning and execution of several militant attacks in the area, including attacks on police and security establishments.

As per police records, Hafiz was involved in a case pertaining to an attack on a naka party of the forces at Prichoo Bridge in which one police personnel was killed and another was injured, the spokesman said.

He said “keeping in view the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure the safety of people from the risk of contracting the infection, the bodies of the militants will be sent to Baramulla for burial after completion of all medico-legal formalities.”

The nearest family members of the slain militants would be allowed to participate in the last rites at Baramulla, the spokesman added.

From the encounter site, incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered and they were taken into case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other cases, he said.

In this connection a case under relevant sections of law has been registered in Police Station Pulwama and investigation has been initiated.

“People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials, if any,” police statement said.

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