Militants decamp with 4 rifles, ammunition; Lashkar claims responsibility
In one of the deadliest militant attacks in recent times, six policemen including a station house officer (SHO) were killed in an ambush on a police party in Achabal area of this south Kashmir district Friday evening.
The attack took place in Thajiwara village of Achabal, some six kms from Anantnag town at around 6 pm. Two civilians were also injured in the shootout.
The attack came hours after two to three Lashkar-e-Toiba militants including district commander for Kulgam Junaid Matoo were believed to have been killed in Arwani village of Bijbehara.
A police official said a group of militants opened fire on police party travelling in a passenger cab returning from law and order duty from Anantang town.
Six policemen were killed in the attack, he said, adding that the militants decamped with four rifles of the cops and the ammunition.
“Among the slain is a police officer identified as Sub-Inspector (SI) Feroze Dar of Dogripora Awantipora posted as SHO Achabal.”
Feroze was earlier injured in a grenade attack on police post Sherbagh-Anantnag where he was posted as Duty Officer (DO) then. After he recovered, he joined Achabal police station as SHO.
The other slain cops were identified as constable Shariq Ahmad of Tangmarg; constable Taseer Ahmad of Chadoora ; constable Sheraz Ahmad of Tangmarg; SPO Muhammad Aasif of Shangus-Anantnag and SPO Sabzar Ahmad of Shopian.
Sources said a group of militants fired on the cab through front window and punctured its tyres by pumping bullets.
“The policemen were caught unawares and they could not retaliate even as some of them sustained bullet injuries in the initial firing,” they said.
Sources added that as the vehicle came to halt the militants went inside the cab and shot at them from a close range, mostly in head killing them on spot.
The militants, sources said, later walked away with four weapons , magazines and other ammunition. “The police party in the cab however could not fire a single shot.”
Witnesses said the bodies were lying on the road side for more than half hour.
“Though SOG men rushed to the spot but they could not move towards the spot to pick up the bodies fearing attack on them also,” locals said.
They said that the forces however later fired from a distance toward the direction they believed militants were hiding.
Two brothers - who were riding on a motor bike - sustained bullet injuries in the shootout. They were identified as Imtiyaz and Ishtiyaq of Kulgad, Achabal.
The duo was shifted to District Hospital Anantnag where from they were referred to Srinagar hospitals for specialized treatment. Doctors said both of them had bullet injuries below waist. Eyewitnesses said that the duo was shot at by the forces’ party.
Militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
In an emailed statement to local news agency KNS, LeT Spokesman Dr Abdullah Ghaznawi said “our militants ambushed the car in which six policemen including an SHO were killed.”