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Shock escape

Srinagar, Jan. 7: Two top Lashkar militants today employed a “shock-and-smash” strategy to escape a security cordon in Sopore, killing a police officer and injuring three other policemen.

Police sources said a cordon was laid in the morning around a house in Chanakhan locality of Sopore, where Lashkar top commander Muzaffar Molvi was believed to be hiding. Another Lashkar militant, Abu Huraira, was suspected to be with him.

The besieged militants — the police could not confirm if there was one person or two — lobbed grenades and opened indiscriminate fire at the members of Special Operation Group of Police, injuring four policemen before making good their escape.

An injured assistant sub-inspector, Kafeel Ahmad, died of his injuries. The others are being treated at a hospital in Srinagar. The slain officer is survived by his wife, two minor children and his mother.

A police officer said the policemen were taken by surprise by the “shock-and-smash” strategy, in which militants open indiscriminate fire at the forces and try to escape during the first contact.

The officer said the forces retaliated and the firing continued for a while before the militants escaped. Army reinforcements were rushed to the area to hunt out the duo but they failed. The search operation was called off in the afternoon.

The incident is a major embarrassment for the forces as the militants not only jumped a tight cordon but also managed to inflict casualties.

Muzaffar Molvi is involved in several attacks on the forces and has successfully broken security cordons earlier.