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Fierce gunbattle continues in Poonch
Published on 4 Jan. 2009 12:48 AM IST
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1 SPO, 2 jawans, 4 militants killed A fierce gunbattle raging between terrorists and Indian security forces in the mountainous forested area of Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir since Thursday has claimed the life of a police official, taking to seven the deaths so far, an official said Saturday. Top commanders of the Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror outfits are reported to be present in hideouts in the area. Police sources said there was heavy exchange of fire between terrorists and security forces, comprising the army and state police, Friday night. Special Police Officer (SPO), temporary recruits in police to assist in anti-militancy operations, Naresh Kumar, was killed. The army laid siege to the Pati Tar forest area near Mendhar in the frontier Poonch district Thursday following a tip off about the presence of a group of hardcore militants there. Two soldiers were killed when they came under heavy fire while laying a cordon on Thursday. Col. D.K. Kachari, spokesman of the army Northern Command at Udhampur, said troops had killed four militants but their bodies were not recovered. He said: “Soldiers on the ground have sighted the bodies.” Senior army and police officers are camping in the area. Meanwhile, police sources said they have arrested Muzaffar Shah, a retired Assistant Sub Inspector of police, from nearby Bhati Dhar area for “allegedly providing shelter and logistic support to these militants”. He had been sent to the Joint Interrogation Centre in Jammu for further questioning.

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