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Colonel, Major among five personnel killed in J&K

Final goodbye:Security personnel paying tribute to the soldiers killed in the encounter on Sunday.NISSAR AHMAD

Final goodbye:Security personnel paying tribute to the soldiers killed in the encounter on Sunday.NISSAR AHMAD  

Two militants were also killed during the 18-hour operation

Five security personnel, including a Colonel, a Major and a sub-inspector, and two militants were killed in an 18-hour operation in north Kashmir’s Handwara.

“In a firefight at Changimul in Handwara of Kupwara district, two terrorists were eliminated and the team of five security personnel, comprising two Army officers, two soldiers and one police sub-inspector, also died,” an Army spokesman said in Srinagar.

Initial investigation suggested that one militant was a local and the other was a resident of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, identified as Hyder alias Iqbal. Sources said Hyder was “a wanted militant commander”.

Hostage situation

The spokesman said the operation started after intelligence inputs suggested that terrorists were taking inmates of a house at Changimul hostage. “A joint operation was launched by the Army and the police on Saturday. A team of five Army and police personnel entered the area, occupied by the terrorists, to evacuate the civilians. They successfully extricated the civilians. However, during the process, the team was subjected to heavy fire by the terrorists,” said the Army.

Police officials said the operation was called off on Sunday morning after the bodies of the security personnel and the militants were spotted in the house in the village, nestled in a forest zone.

The deceased were identified as Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh and Dinesh and sub-inspector Mohammad Sagier Qazi of the Jammu and Kashmir police’s Special Operation Group. One soldier was injured, officials said.

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