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Two LeT Militants, One Civilian Killed in Kashmir Gunfight

19 June 2017

Bodies of three LeT militants including its District Commander Junaid Matoo killed in an encounter with police and security forces in Arwani area of Bijbehara have been recovered from the encounter site. Two civilians were injured in the attack.

Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba has claimed responsibility for the attack, police said, adding it seems they wanted to take revenge of the Arwani encounter in which their local commander Junaid Mattoo is believed to have died.

"Killing of six policemen by terrorists in #Achabal is a cowardice act".

The unrest spread to neighbouring villages as thousands of residents clashed with government forces, hurling stones and chanting: "We want freedom" and "Go India, go back". When the forces closed in on the hiding militants, they were fired upon by the militants, triggering an exchange. Police cordoned off the area after the attack. In the morning itself, a civilian identified as Mohammad Ashraf Khar, 34, was killed in the crossfire between the forces and the militants.

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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.

Over two dozen other protesters were injured in the protests.

Earlier in the day, an Indian Army soldier was killed in a ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir's Naushera district.

The protests erupted shortly after Friday prayers and were going on when reports last came in, officials said.

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According to police, Matoo was involved in several militant attacks and killings of policemen, while as Wani and Mir had joined militant ranks past year. The militants also killed two policemen on Thursday in Kulgam and Srinagar.

Train services between Baramulla and Bannihal towns were suspended. It is possible that there is a linkage between killing of the six policemen and operations carried out by the security forces against the Lashkar and its operatives in the Valley.

Meanwhile, authorities imposed restrictions in Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir as separatists called for a shutdown on Saturday.

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