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5 Feb 2017

Lecturer among Hizbul duo killed

Security personnel take position during an encounter at Sopore in north Kashmir on Saturday. (PTI)
TT, Srinagar, Feb. 4: A college lecturer-turned-militant was among two senior Hizbul Mujahideen operatives killed in a gunfight in north Kashmir's Sopore today.
Police said Azhar Khan and Sajjad Lone, both top commanders of the militant outfit, were travelling in a vehicle from Kupwara to Sopore to carry out a terror attack when they were intercepted. "With the elimination of these militants, a major terrorist action was averted," a police spokesperson said.
According to another officer, the duo were involved in several strikes in the past. "We had specific information about their movement today. Their vehicle was intercepted and they were asked to surrender but they lobbed a grenade towards our men and opened fire, which triggered a gunfight and resulted in the deaths of the two men," the officer said.
Baramulla superintendent of police (operations) Shafqat Hussain said two troopers, a sub-inspector and a constable, were injured when a grenade exploded in front of them. Two AK-47 rifles, a pistol, four hand grenades and ammunition were found on the slain militants.
Police sources said Azhar was a post-graduate in Arabic and had worked as a lecturer on contract at a Kupwara college for some time before taking to militancy last year.
A number of educated Kashmiri youths have been joining militants' ranks in recent years, a trend described as "disturbing" by officials in the administration as well as security experts.
Sajjad, the other militant killed in today's gunfight, hailed from Sopore and had gone to Pakistan in March 2016 to receive arms training, sources said, adding he had entered the neighbouring country through the Wagah border on a valid passport.
Hizbul termed the duo's deaths a "big loss to the organisation". "Both were local militants who had been affiliated to the outfit for quite some time," Burhan-ud-din, the Hizbul's operational spokesperson, said.

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