Srinagar, Aug 30: Five guerrillas, all of them foreigners, were killed in a midnight gunfight with security forces in Kashmir, an army officer said Friday.
Terming the operation a big success in its counter-insurgency efforts, the army said Friday all the five guerrillas killed in a nightlong operation in Kashmir were foreign nationals and belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) group.
A senior police officer told IANS that on specific information, troops of the counter-insurgency 24 Rashtriya Rifles and the state police surrounded an area on the fringes of Najwan forest near Preng health resort in north Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, 35 km from here.
“When the troops tightened the cordon, hiding militants fired at them triggering a gunfight at the end of which five militants were killed,” the officer said.
Major General R.R. Nimbhorkar, general officer commanding (GOC) of Victor force, told reporters at a Rashtriya Rifles camp in Wussan village of north Kashmir’s Ganderbal district: “All the five slain terrorists were foreigners.”
“The group called Assadullah group led by Qari Assadullah had been under surveillance since last September. We had learnt that the group planned to attack Amarnath Yatra, but they couldn’t execute it because of heavy domination…,” the official said.
He said that the operation was conceived jointly with Jammu and Kashmir Police’s special cell.
“It was a group of foreign terrorists of Hizb.”
“We started at around 10 p.m. last night. First contact was established with the terrorists at 12.30 a.m. and two of the group were killed by 1 a.m. Later the operation continued till morning and the rest of the group were killed…,” the GOC said.
Replying to a query, the GOC said the group was most likely planning to change its hideout when they were challenged as they carried rations with them that would last for at least three to four days.
He also said the elimination of the group could not be labeled as the complete elimination of militancy in north Kashmir areas.
It may be recalled that all the five foreign guerrillas were killed by 24 RR and state police on the fringes of Najwan forests near the Preng health resort in Ganderbal district during the night in an operation that ended Friday morning.
Security forces did not suffer any damage in the operation.
The bodies of the slain guerrillas were handed over to locals for burial.