Pampore encounter ends, three terrorists shot dead

World Monday 22/February/2016 15:32 PM
By: Times News Service
Pampore encounter ends, three terrorists shot dead

Srinagar: The 48-hour fierce gunbattle on the outskirts of Srinagar ended on Monday evening with the killing of three heavily-armed terrorists holed up in a government building situated along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.
"The encounter has ended and three militants who had taken refuge inside the building have been killed," a police official said about the incident in Pampore.
An Army official, overseeing the operation, also said that three terrorists were killed in the five-storey building of Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) and 'war-like' stores, including arms and ammunition had been recovered.
A combing operation was underway to sanitise the building which has 44 rooms plus lobbies, washrooms and a restaurant on the top floor.
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 on Monday, the Special Forces of the army maximised the force, using mortar shells to flush out the terrorists, the officials said.
During the intense gunfight, the top floor of the building caught fire which forced the ultras to shift towards one side of the complex where they were nuetralised, the police official said.
The terrorists were suspected to be foreigners and apparently a "suicide squad", said Major General Arvind Dutta, General Officer Commanding of Victor Force, who was overseeing the operation.
The identity of the slain attackers, however, was not immediately known, he said.
In Delhi, CRPF Director General Prakash Mishra said the attack "appears to be" the handiwork of Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) terror outfit.
Major General Dutta said the building appeared to be a pre-determined target where they rushed into after attacking a Central Reserve Police Force convoy.
"They were carrying a large quantity of arms and ammunition... They were seen running into the building with big bagpacks," the army officer said.
Two CRPF jawans and a civilian were killed and nine other jawans injured when militants opened fire on CRPF convoy on Saturday afternoon.
As the security forces mounted an assault on the building on Sunday, they met with stiff resistance from the ultras who are holding vantage points inside the building.
"The terrorists had a huge opportunity to hide inside the big complex....They had an advantage. They could see our movements," the GOC said.
He said the CRPF initially made an attempt to enter the building immediately after their convoy was targeted but the terrorists threw grenades and fired at them, forcing them to withdraw. It is then that the Army stepped in, Major General Dutta said.