A top commander was among six foreign militants of Lashkher-e-Toiba (LeT) killed while one Indian Air Force (IAF) Garud martyred and a soldier injured in a fierce encounter in north Kashmir district of Bandipora, where protests erupted on Saturdayafternoon.
The Garud Commando Force is the special forces unit of the IAF. "In the gunfight so far five militants have been killed and the operation is on", an Army officer said.
Defence spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said six militants, including LeT commander Mahmood Bhai, were killed in the gunfight.
One of the terrorists named Owaid is the son of Zakir Rehman Maki and the nephew of Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, he said on Twitter. "Weapons and ammunition recovered", DGP SP Vaid tweeted.
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The search operation resulted in an encounter when the militants hiding there fired on the search party of the security forces, who retaliated. "A total of six LeT militants were eliminated".
In October, two IAF Garud commandos were killed in an encounter that also left two terrorists including a local recruit dead. He said the slain militants were from Pakistan.
An Army jawan and a militant were killed in an encounter in Kulgam district on November 14.
"The killing of Mehmood Bhai is a big jolt to LeT and we are hopeful that after this operation, security forces will gain upper hand in Hajin and its adjoining areas again", the officer said. The internet services in the district that borders the Line of Control have been suspended as a precautionary measure, an official said.