The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Valley hostage crisis ends

Srinagar, Oct. 21: Curtains today came down on the 30-hour hostage crisis in Pulwama with security forces blowing up a house and killing two holed-up militants hours after rescuing seven civilians sent in to negotiate the rebels’ surrender.

The militants, identified as Abu Samak Haider, a resident of Pakistan, and his local associate, Shakeel Ahmad Bhat of Dabpora-Shopian, belonged to the Jaish-e-Mohammad, agencies quoted official sources as saying.

The sources said security forces used mortar bombs to bring down the house at Tharnu near Shopian, 69 km south of Srinagar, where the civilians had been held hostage since yesterday morning. The mortars were used after the militants refused to surrender, firing heavily from automatic weapons on the joint troops of the Rashtriya Rifles, police and the Central Reserve Police Force, who had laid a tight siege around the house.

Before that, a smoke shell was fired at the house to facilitate the rescue of the civilians, including a Muslim cleric.

As the gunbattle was raging, an attempt was made on the life of the CRPF deputy inspector- general who was on his way to Tharnu. Although he escaped the IED blast set off at Kulgam — the device exploded a few metres ahead of his car — at least 14 bystanders were wounded.

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