Two Lashker-e-Tayiba terrorists including a top commander were killed in Bandipora district of Kashmir, ending a 24-hour seige by security forces at a mosque where one of the deceased had taken refuge, official sources said on Tuesday.
Self-styled district commander of the LeT, Abu Qitaal and his close accomplice Abu Dawood, both suspected to be Pakistani nationals, were killed in the operation at Barzulla village of the north Kashmir district, 50 kms from Srinagar, they said.
While one terrorist was killed in the initial firefight with security forces on Monday, the other was injured and managed to take refuge inside the local mosque, where he succumbed to injuries this morning, ending the 24-hour stand off, they said.
The army had sent local elders and the Imam of the mosque to persuade the terrorist to leave the religious structure and surrender. However, he refused the offer and hurled grenades and opened fire at the security forces, they said.
Defence sources said the army exercised utmost restraint, keeping in mind the sanctity of the mosque and to avoid damaging it. "Clear orders had been issued to the troops not to fire towards the mosque. They have also been instructed not to enter the mosque, to maintain its sanctity," a defence spokesman said on Monday.
Two AK assault rifles, four magazines, 100 rounds of ammunition, two Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL) shells and a wireless set were recovered from the slain terrorists, they added.