In the first major strike targeting civilians this year, Lashkar-e-Toiba militants have shot dead two sisters after dragging them out of their house in Sopore town of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

Arifa and Akhtar, daughters of Ghulam Nabi Dar, were gunned down by three militants, including a Pakistani, at around 10 p.m. on Monday night at Muslim Peer in Sopore town, 52 km from here, Superintendent of Police Sopore Altaf Ahmad told PTI.

According to preliminary investigations, the three Lashkar militants barged into the house and forcibly took the girls, aged between 16 to 18 years, police said.

“The girls were later shot dead by the militants near the Ziarat (shrine) Rahim Sahib. One of them was shot in the left eye,” Mr. Ahmad said, adding their bodies were found near their house.

It could not be immediately ascertained why the militants had targeted the sisters.

The police officer said the local militants involved in the killing have been identified as Wasim Ganaie and Muzaffar Naikoo. Both the ultras were carry a cash reward on their heads.

This was the first incident of civilian killings by militants in the Kashmir Valley this year.