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Encounter rages in Shopian as intense clashes erupt
3 militants suspected to be holed up
SRINAGAR, Aug 12: The encounter that raged between the forces and militants in Awneera village of southern Shopian district Saturday evening triggered clashes near the encounter site.

Three militants are believed to be trapped in a residential house.

Local and official sources said that the government forces including army and special operations group (SOG) of police laid siege to the village following an input about the presence of militants there.

As the security forces advanced for searches, local sources said, militants opened fire on the search party. The fire was retaliated triggering an encounter. "The initial exchange of fire continued for at least ten minutes. After locating the militants the security forces tightened the siege and resumed the operation after ensuring that all the entry and exit points are sealed to prevent the hiding militants escape," local sources said.

As soon as the encounter started, they said, large number of youth from the village and other neighbouring areas rushed towards the encounter site and tried to disrupt the operation by hurling stones at forces. The security forces, a local said, responded with heavy tear-smoke shelling to drive away the stone pelting protesters. Intense clashes amid heavy exchange of fire were on when this report was being filed.

"Security forces are facing a tough time due to stone pelting," a local said. He said that they also heard the sound of a powerful blast. Though there were rumours of three top Hizb commanders having been trapped but there was no official confirmation about who and how many are trapped.

An army official told reporters near the encounter site that the militants fired on the search party from a residential house triggering an encounter.

He, however, remained tight lipped about the number of militants trapped.

"We cannot say anything about how many militants are there. We can say all this only after the operation is over," the army officer told reporters.

Intense clashes erupted in Quimoh and Khudwani area of southern Kulgam district after the rumors about the trapping of a local militant commander Altaf Kachroo spread. Local sources said that soon after the rumours spread, authorities moved huge contingents of forces to the area to prevent the youth of the area from marching towards Awneera where the encounter was on. As soon as the deployment was made huge number of youth took to streets and attacked the forces with stones.

The security forces, witnesses said, resorted to heavy teargas shelling to disperse the youth. The clashes were going on in the area till late evening.

News Updated at : Sunday, August 13, 2017
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