Security forces were locked in an hours-long firefight with militants holed up in a house in north Kashmir’s Handwara, officials said late on Saturday, suspecting the gunmen to be terrorists who recently infiltrated into the Valley.
According to officials who asked not to be named, approximately four terrorists are believed to be involved in the encounter that began around 3:30pm in Chanjmulla area of Handwara, which falls in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
Two senior army officers, a state policeman and a soldier were close to the site of the encounter and were out of communication, news agency PTI reported citing unnamed sources. According to the sources, a hunt was underway to trace the missing personnel, while the operation to neutralise the militants was also on, PTI reported.
The encounter began in the afternoon after Army and police launched a joint operation in the forests of Rajwar following a tip-off about the presence of militants in the area. The militants emerged and hid inside a house.
Teams of the Special Operation Group of police surrounded the house and lights had been erected around the area where the encounter was underway, a senior security official said, asking not to be named. Since the gunfight was underway, this person added, more details about the operation were not immediately available from the unit that was engaged in the encounter.
Defense spokesman Rajesh Kalia didn’t respond to phone calls made by HT.