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8 killed in J&K encounter
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
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May 11, 2008 14:58 IST
Last Updated: May 11, 2008 20:34 IST

Eight persons were killed in the day-long fierce gunfight between two holed-up militants and security forces in the Samba district of Jammu region on Sunday.

"The operation is over. We have gunned down both the holed-up militants belonging to the Lashkar-e-Tayiba outfit," a senior police officer said.

Earlier, two militants wearing army uniforms had forced their way inside a house spraying bullets at the inmates.

"A local political activist Hoshiyar Singh, general secretary of Indian National Democratic Party, his wife and another woman, a local photojournalist and a trooper were killed in the initial attack," the officer said.

"Six others including an army major and a trooper who were injured in the firing were taken to hospital for treatment," he added.

The two militants also entered another house in the Rakambatali locality of Samba, taking two women and three children hostage.

Army, paramilitary Border Security Force and police reinforcements were rushed to the area and the two holed-up militants were engaged in a sustained gunfight.

The security forces late on Sunday afternoon safely rescued the hostages and later stormed the house, killing both the holed-up militants.

"We have recovered huge quantity of arms and ammunition from the slain militants, which include two AK-47 rifles, wireless sets, grenades and incriminating documents," Defence Spokesman Col Goswami told this correspondent.

He also said that another critically injured trooper succumbed to injuries in the hospital.

The authorities have sounded a general alert in the Jammu region. Two days back, the BSF had foiled an infiltration bid in the Suchetgrah sector of Samba district.

Photojournalist Ashok Sodhi of Daily Excelsior newspaper was cremated this evening in Jammu city.

The police now say that he had received a fatal head injury during the shootout and despite being shifted to hospital, he couldn't survive.

Chief Minister Ghulam [Images] Nabi Azad has expressed profound shock and grief over the tragic death of the photojournalist.

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