5 militants, IAF Garud killed, jawan injured in north Kashmir encounter

J&K Police chief Shesh Pal Vaid confirmed that six militants including Lakhvi's nephew were gunned down. File

"Six LeT terrorists have been eliminated in Bandipora encounter", Vaid said.

According to a senior police official, on receiving information about the presence of some terrorists in Chandergeer village in Hajin area of Bandipora district, the security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation.

Troops also retaliated and in the ensuing exchange of fire, five militants were killed, he said. "One of the terrorists named Owaid is a son of Zakir Rehman Maki and nephew of Zakir Rehman Lakhbi (mastermind of Mumbai terror attacks)", Jammu and Kashmir police chief SP Vaid said, calling the encounter a "huge success" for security forces.

Army's Srinagar based defence spokesman said, "So far five militants have been killed in the operation", which was a joint effort of the army, SOG and CRPF.

A senior police officer told DH that it was a group of nine LeT militants led by Mehmood Bhai which had made Hajin their basin for nearly two years. Some police officers said that this is one of a big setback for the terrorists as the same area had witnessed a series of attacks on security forces by terrorists. "Weapons and ammunition recovered".

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On Friday a militant and a police officer were killed in the outskirts of Srinagar during a brief shootout.

Last month two militants and two IAF personnel were killed in a similar gunfight in the village.

Owaid is the younger brother of Musaib, who was killed in January this year.

Mehmood Bhai is the third man from the Lakhvi family to be killed in Kashmir. The Garud Commando is the special forces unit of the IAF. Prior to that, two terrorists had got killed in an encounter in Bonikhan Hajin on November 22, 2016.

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