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4 civilians, jawan killed in encounter

Soldiers take position during the gun-battle in Samba on Sunday.

Soldiers take position during the gun-battle in Samba on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: AP

Luv Puri

Two militants killed at the end of 12-hour gun-battle in J&K town; seven hostages rescued

Samba (JAMMU AND KASHMIR): Four civilians and an Army jawan were killed and 13 people injured during a 12-hour encounter on Sunday between security forces and two Lashkar-e-Taiba militants in Samba town of Jammu and Kashmir.

The face-off ended just before dusk with the killing of the two militants.

Kulbhusan, a local resident told The Hindu that at 5.58 a.m. the president of the newly constituted Indian National Democratic Party, Hoshiar Singh, informed him over phone that militants were attacking his house.

The militants had apparently asked for permission to enter his house, situated in the Kali Mandi colony, but when he refused they killed him, his wife Sheshi Balla and injured his daughter Bindu and relative Darshan Devi. They then took refuge in another house and took eight persons as hostages. A combined operation was initiated by Six Garhwal Rifles of the Army, the J&K police and the BSF to rescue the hostages.

Photo journalist killed

A photo journalist of the local English newspaper Daily Excelsior, Ashok Sodhi (45), while covering the encounter was killed. A bullet pierced his temple.

A hostage, identified as Pulu Devi, and Army jawan Atul were also killed in the militant fire. By 5 p.m. the seven hostages were rescued and the security forces killed the militants.

Outfit’s identity confirmed

Inspector General of Police K. Rajendra said it was difficult to say whether the militants were new infiltrators. He, however, said intercepts showed they belonged to the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

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