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J&K: All hostages released; three militants killed
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | December 25, 2007 00:00 IST
Last Updated: December 25, 2007 17:28 IST
The nearly three-day long hostage crisis in a mosque at southern Kashmir ended early on Tuesday morning when the militants were killed by the security forces and the hostages were set free.
Five civilians had been held hostage by three militants of the Hizbul Mujaheedin outfit in a mosque at Palnu village, 80 kms from Srinagar [Images]. The security forces managed to kill the militants and free the hostages without damaging the mosque.
"The five hostages have been safely rescued. The three militants were killed in a gun battle around midnight and their bodies have been recovered. We are searching the area even though the mosque siege is over," said Hemant Lohia, deputy inspector general of police, south Kashmir.
He said that the mosque had not been damaged but its window panes had been shattered in the gunfight.
Panic and fear had gripped Palnu village early on Sunday, when the village mosque was surrounded by the troops of Rashtriya Rifles and special operations group of the state police, after receiving information that a group of militants had taken refuge inside it.
As the security forces were cordoning off the mosque, the militants opened fire from inside the mosque, injuring one trooper and a civilian.
In the ensuing panic, five villagers rushed into the mosque to avoid being hit by flying bullets.
These villagers were taken hostage by the militants. Two hostages were released by the militants during negotiations with the security forces, while another hostage managed to run away from the mosque.