Published On: Mon, Feb 22nd, 2016

Pampore gunbattle ends after 48 hours, three terrorists killed

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The fierce gunbattle on the outskirts of Srinagar ended today with Army’s elite Special Forces killing all the three terrorists, suspected to be Pakistanis belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), in a 48-hour operation that also left six securitymen and a civilian dead.

The heavily-armed terrorists, apparently a “suicide squad”, were holed up in a multi-storey government building of Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) in Pampore, along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, since Saturday afternoon.

“The encounter has ended and three militants who had taken refuge inside the building have been killed,” a police official said.

“We have killed three militants of whom we had the information,” Major General Arvind Dutta, General Officer Commanding of Victor Force, told reporters.

He said the identity of the slain terrorists is being ascertained but added they appeared to be foreigners.

To a question, he said by saying “foreigners”, he meant they had come from “across the border”, hinting at Pakistan.

In Delhi, CRPF Director General Prakash Mishra said the attack “appears to be” the handiwork of Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) terror outfit.

Maj Gen Dutta said ‘war-like’ stores, including large quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered from the site.

A combing operation was underway to sanitise the building which has 44 rooms plus lobbies, washrooms and a restaurant on the top floor, he said.

The operation, which began on Saturday evening, saw five security force personnel including two Captains of elite commando units laying down their lives while battling the terrorists, suspected to be of foreign origin.

A civilian was killed in the crossfire between the two sides while 120 civilians were evacuated safely.

As the operation entered the third day today, the Special Forces of the army maximised the force, using mortar shells to flush out the terrorists, the officials said.

Maj Gen Dutta said the building appeared to be a pre-determined target where they rushed into after attacking a CRPF convoy on the highway.

“They were carrying a large quantity of arms and ammunition… They were seen running into the building with big bagpacks,” the army officer said.

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