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19 June 2017, 12:54 | Opal Carroll
The attack comes on a day when the security forces eliminated Lashkar commander Junaid Mattoo along with one more terrorist in Kashmir's Kulgam district. Two civilians were also injured in the attack.
The gunfight between militants and government forces broke out Friday morning at village Aarwani of Anantnag district, about 46 km south of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir. Six policemen were brutally killed; their faces were disfigured with dozens of bullets sprayed at them from point blank range. "We lost a brilliant officer", DIG (south Kashmir) S P Pani, told ET. Soon Army and police cordoned off the area but the militants escaped. There too, a civilian was killed in clashes with security forces. He was immediately rushed to the district hospital where he was declared brought dead.
The two armies have traded fire along the LoC nearly daily in recent weeks, killing civilians and soldiers on both sides while accusing each other of breaching a 2003 ceasefire agreement.
The deaths triggered massive protests in several parts of south Kashmir.
Meanwhile, the separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik called a daylong shutdown on Saturday against the civilian killings.
In an apparent retaliation to the Arwani encounter, as many as 12 militants ambushed a police party on the outskirts of Anantnag district later on Friday - killing six policemen. Reports from the area said the security forces used improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to blast the two houses where the militants were hiding. Train services between Srinagar and Banihal via Pulwama, Anantnag and Qazigund have been suspended.
At least two civilians were killed by Indian troops in Kashmir region on Friday, a health official said.
"The terrorists opened fire at the security forces after being asked to surrender".
Police officials said militants in the region have been targeting policemen guarding houses of politicians and other protected people to snatch rifles, in wake of weapons shortage within the militant ranks.
Mufti said she has been warning of the risky consequences of violence time and again and appealed the civil society to rise to the occasion to make the future of JK's younger generation peaceful.
After a search operation that lasted the night, three bodies of Lashkar-e-Toiba militants Junaid Mattoo, Nasir Wani and Adil Mushtaq were recovered from the debris of houses where the encounter took place.
In an e-mailed statement LeT spokesman, Dr Abdullah Ghaznavi while quoting the outfit chief, Mehmood Shah said, "These sacrifices won't go in vain".
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