Srinagar, February 10: Five local militants were killed in a gunfight in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Sunday, police said.

Police said three of slain militants were involved in the killing of an off-duty Territorial Army man Lance Naik Mukhtar Ahmad Malik at Kulgam in September last year.

Meanwhile, four police personnel, four civilians and three CRPF men were injured in a grenade attack in city centre in the evening. Militants hurled a grenade on a security picket near Palladium at around 6.45 pm. Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility for the Srinagar grenade attack.

Earlier in the day, the gunfight erupted at Kulgam when joint teams of police, CRPF and Army were carrying a cordon and search operation in Kellam village, nearly 70 km from Srinagar, after an input about presence of militants in the area. “As the suspected house was cordoned, the militants were asked to surrender. Instead they opened fire which was retaliated. In the gunfight that continued for over six hours. Five militants were killed,” a senior police officer in south Kashmir said.

The slain militants were associated with Hizbul Mujahideen and were identified as Waseem, Zahid Malik, Idrees Bhat, Aqib Mir and Parvez Bhat — all residents of south Kashmir.  The house where the militants were hiding was damaged in the encounter. Locals accused forces of settling ablaze the house. Police said arms and ammunition was also recovered from the site of encounter.

A police spokesman said slain militants Waseem, Aqib and Parvaiz were involved in the killings of off-duty Territorial Army man Lance Naik Mukhtar Ahmad Malik in Kulgam district in September last year.

Militants had posed as journalists and shot dead Malik, a former Ikwani, inside his house at Shurat village in Kulgam where he had gone to mourn the death of his son 17-year-old son who died on Friday.

There were reports of intense clashes in the area as people tried to march towards the encounter site. Atleast 10 civilians and four CRPF men were injured in the clashes.

The authorities also snapped mobile internet services in the area to maintain law and order.

The train services were suspended in south Kashmir while the services resumed in north Kashmir region after daylong suspension due to shutdown called by the separatists on the hanging anniversary of Afzal Guru.

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