Top LeT commander, two civilians killed in Kashmir operation

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Srinagar, Jul 1 (PTI) Two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants, including commander Bashir Lashkari who was behind the killing of six policemen last month, were gunned down by security forces in Kashmir’s Anantnag district today, police said.

Two civilians, 44-year-old Tahira and 21-year-old Shadab Ahmad Chopan, were also killed during the operation in Brenti-Batpora village in Dialgam area of the district, police said.

“The encounter is over. Two militants have been killed,” Director General of Police S P Vaid told PTI.

Vaid said the slain militants had been identified as Bashir Lashkari and Azad Dada, both affiliated with the LeT.

Earlier in the day, Tahira died in crossfire between security forces and militants holed up inside a house in the village. Chopan was allegedly killed in security forces’ action against protesters near the encounter site.

Chopan had firearm injuries in his face and was declared dead at the SKIMS hospital here, a police official said.

Four other persons were admitted to hospitals here with firearm injuries sustained near the encounter site, he added.

According to police, Lashkari and his group were involved in the brutal killing of SHO Feroz Ahmad Dar and five other policemen in Achabal area of south Kashmir on June 16.

Security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in Brenti-Batpora in Anantnag early today after they received information about the presence of militants, including Lashkari, a police official said.

He said the search operation turned into an encounter after the militants opened fire on security forces.

A police spokesperson said the militants used 17 civilians as human shields. However, security forces managed to rescue them before launching a final assault against the ultras.

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