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Three Hizbul militants killed in Budgam encounter

Three local militants of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfit were killed in an overnight encounter in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Wednesday morning.

A police official said that a joint party of Army’s Rashtriya Rifles and special operations group (SOG) of J&K police launched a search operation after inputs about presence of militants in Radbugh village of Budgam, 18 km from here at around 7 pm, Tuesday.

“At around 9 pm contact was established with the militants and after a brief exchange of fire the operation was halted for the night. A tight cordon was maintained by the security forces around the area to stop the militants from escaping taking advantage of darkness,” he said.

The gun fight resumed with the first light of the morning and security forces blasted the house where the militants were hiding, the official said and added the ultras were killed outside the house after they came out and tried to break the cordon.

The slain militants have been identified as Javid Sheikh, Dawood and Aaquib Gul, all locals belonging to the Hizbul. Police also said it recovered three weapons from the gunfight site. Sheikh, according to police, was the district commander of the Hizbul.

The latest encounter comes just a day after militants attacked a bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Monday evening. Seven pilgrims were killed and 19 others injured in the drastic attack drawing strong condemnation not only from Kashmir, but across the country and the world.

Militancy has seen an alarming rise this year with nearly 165 persons, including civilians, militants and security forces personnel, killed in terror related incidents in the state. The civilian support and sympathy for militants has increased since the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani last July, which has become a concern to the state.

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