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Five militants, as many soldiers killed in Kupwara gunfight

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Srinagar, Apr 5: Five militants and as many soldiers including a JCO from Army’s elite para force were killed on the fifth day of an ongoing operation in the higher reaches of Kupwara district in north Kashmir on Sunday.

Defence spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said the slain militants were infiltrators and that the operation was still going on.

In a statement issued here, he confirmed the killing of three soldiers and injuries to several others.

However, reliable sources said that two among the injured Armymen, one of them a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) succumbed to injuries at Badamibagh Army hospital.

The soldiers were taken to the Srinagar hospital even as Army faced tough terrain and hostile weather conditions during the operation in Kupwara.

All the slain Armymen as well as three other injured in the gunfight, sources said, are mainly from the elite para force.

“In ongoing anti-infiltration operation in Keran Sector of north Kashmir, alert troops braving inclement weather and hostile terrain have so far eliminated five militants attempting to infiltrate across the Line of Control (LoC) taking advantage of bad weather,” Col Kalia said.

Kalia said that three soldiers were killed—one of them on the spot while two others succumbed to critical injuries later on. Police sources said that bodies of the militants were so far not handed over by the army to police. “The army informed us that bodies could not be recovered so far due to difficult terrain and inclement weather,” a police officer said.

On fourth day of the operation on Saturday evening, the Army rushed elite para troopers to Rangdoori, Guguldara and Teen Behak area of Jumgund. Sources said that firing continued throughout the night, reaching at peak during the wee hours of Sunday.

The operation was launched initially by Army’s 8 JAT after intercepting movement a group of militants on Wednesday. Besides, they said, the searches continued along Awaoora, Kumkadi, Zurhuma, Safawali, Batpora, Haihama areas by the joint team of Army’s 41 RR, 57 RR, 160 TA and SOG Kupwara. (With inputs from GNS)