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Siege ends, major killed

Srinagar, Nov. 20: An army major and a BSNL employee were killed in the two-day encounter between two fidayeen militants and troops in the Badamibagh cantonment area that ended this evening.

“The operation has ended. Troops are now busy searching the area,” an army officer said. Authorities said both militants had been killed.

Defence sources here said army troops launched the final assault late this afternoon when they sprayed bullets on and shelled a gutted BSNL telephone exchange building. One of the militants holed up inside died in the raid.

Earlier this afternoon, the troops had gunned down the other militant, also hiding in the building.

Yesterday, in a bid to flush out the duo, security forces had blown up the BSNL building after evacuating seven members of the Special Services Bureau that guards the exchange and 10 exchange employees.

One employee, identified as Kuldeep Singh, however, was trapped inside. His body was recovered this afternoon.

The militants ran into the exchange building for cover after launching an attack with grenades and assault rifles late on Tuesday on a CRPF battalion headquarters here.

A CRPF trooper was killed and four others were injured in the attack.

During the ensuing gunbattle the army engaged the militants in, a major was killed. He had been badly wounded in the firing and grenade explosions. A colonel was also injured.

Over a dozen people were injured in the operation, including nine securitymen and three civilians, all of whom are in various hospitals here.

The destruction of the BSNL exchange, worth crores, and two nearby residential houses accounted for the collateral damage. BSNL sources said telecom facilities in the area have been disrupted and setting up a new exchange would take several months.

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