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7 Jammu hostages rescued; 3 killed
Jammu, Aug 28 (IANS):
Published on 29 Aug. 2008 12:27 AM IST
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Seven members of the family in whose house three terrorists had barged in were rescued by the army following a gun battle but three other hostages were killed by the militants in Chinore on the outskirts of this winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir, police said Thursday. “We are happy that we could save some of the hostages but also unhappy that three of them were killed,” Brig V.P. Singh, who led the operation against the terrorists, told reporters. Billu Ram, the owner of the house in which the terrorists were holed up, waited anxiously outside the building in Chinore, about 20 km from here, as his family members were rescued following the gun battle that went on from early Wednesday morning till late in the night. However, a neighbour, his son, and a teacher present in the building were killed by the three terrorists, who were later shot dead by army personnel. “The first to be brought out was Sarita, the wife of Billu Ram. She was injured. After that, his four children were rescued,” a police officer told IANS. The youngest of the children was Vipin Kumar, 2, while the other three were Kajal, 4, Ishant, 6 and Sheetal, 9. “Later, Billu Ram’s brother Tarsem and his wife Ritu were rescued. Some of the hostages are still in shock,” the officer added. Sheetal, the eldest among the children who were held hostage, said: “It was scary. We were locked inside a room and the men said they will kill us.” The police said three terrorists had crossed into Jammu and Kashmir from the Kanachak sector of the border with Pakistan Tuesday morning. They were intercepted at the police check post of Chinore, about 20 km north from the centre of Jammu, Wednesday morning. The three militants, dressed in police uniforms and carrying AK-47 assault rifles, shot dead a junior commissioned officer (JCO) and then hijacked a three-wheeler. They then fired indiscriminately, killing Shabeet Hussain, a milkman, and motorcyclist Naseeb Singh before killing the three-wheeler driver, Vijay Kumar, police said. The guerrillas then entered the house of Billu Ram, who had been taken to hospital to be treated for a snake bite and returned to find that his family was being held hostage. Police and army personnel cordoned off the area and had a gun battle with the militants. Grenade explosions and gun shots were heard in the area as the single-storey building was perforated with bullet marks. By late Wednesday, the army personnel managed to kill all three militants. This was the second major gun battle in Jammu region in less than three and a half months. Six people were killed in Samba town, 40 km southwest of Jammu May 11. According to defence sources, militants had infiltrated May 8 from across the international border in Samba sector before they surfaced May 11 morning and killed civilians and soldiers. Three militants were killed during the infiltration bid.

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