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15-hour gunfight in Valley

Srinagar, Dec. 3: Security forces killed three Lashkar-e-Toiba rebels in an encounter today, hours after militants killed a police officer and injured three in a central Kashmir town.

A police spokesperson said three foreign militants belonging to the Lashkar, apparently from Pakistan, were killed in an encounter at Shatipora village in Handwara, north Kashmir, during a joint operation by police, the 21 Rashtria Rifles of the army and the CRPF.

The operation started yesterday evening after security forces received a tip-off about the presence of militants in the village.

“The militants fired upon the joint search team (yesterday evening) triggering an encounter. Three Lashkar militants, later identified as Abu Waqaas, Qari Nomaan and Ubaid, were killed in the encounter this morning,” the spokesperson said.

Police sources said the 15-hour gunfight left the house in which the militants were hiding completely destroyed.

“Abu Waqaas was the top Lashkar commander in the area and the three had been active in north Kashmir for quite sometime,” an official said.

The attack came hours after militants killed station house officer Shabir Ahmad in an attack at Chadoora town in central Kashmir.