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Nine militants killed in Kashmir operation

September 29, 2008 11:19 IST

With the recovery of two bodies of militants on Monday morning, the death toll in the ongoing operation to track town rebels in high-altitude areas of Kashmir valley has gone up to nine, a defence spokesman said.

Bodies of the two slain militants were recovered from Kangan, 40 km from Srinagar [Images], the spokesman said. "The identity and group affiliation of the deceased are yet to be established," he said.

The operation was launched on Thursday following information that a group of militants was moving from Bandipora to Kangan in Ganderbal district. Many militants are believed to be trapped in the area, according to officials.

So far, seven suspected foreign militants were killed in fierce gunbattles at Lawantaz forest in the jurisdiction of Kangan police station. While three militants were killed on Thursday, four ultras were gunned down on Saturday in the biggest operation against the rebels in the recent months.

An army jawan was also killed during the operation. "There might be some more splinter groups in the area but we have enough troops to take them on," an army official had said.

The rise in militant activities in the upper reaches of strategically important Kangan, on the Srinagar-Leh national highway, in the past few months also prompted the authorities to go after the militants to secure the area, sources said. The army and the local police parties scaled the area from both sides - Bandipora and Kangan, while helicopters were used for para-dropping soldiers in the high-altitude areas to flush out the militants.

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