The 15-hour-long gunfight in Mir Mohalla area of HajinBandipora ended on Friday with the killing of two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants and a 12 year old Aatif Ahmed, who according to police, was taken hostage by militants inside the house.
SSP Bandipora Rahul Malik told media that a joint team of Army's 13 Rashtria Rifles, CRPF and SOG personnel launched a cordon and search operation at Mir Mohalla of Hajin late on Thursday after inputs about presence of militants.
“While the area was being cordoned, it came to our notice that few family members were holed up inside the house ànd rescue operation was launched to rescue them,” he said.
Six members, he said, were rescued initially while two others Aatif Ahmed and Hamid Ahmed were kept hostage by militants till later afternoon.
SSP said they tried a lot to rescue Aatif but failed. “However, Hamid was rescued”.
He said Aatif was killed by militants before they were killed in the gunfight.
The SSP said family members of Aatif, local Auqaf committee and a magistrate were brought to the encounter site to persuade the hiding militants to release the minor body.
“However, we could not save Aatif," he said.
The circumstance, which led to death of boy, was still shrouded in mystery as only police version was available.
Two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants including a top Lashkar commander Ali Bhai were killed in the encounter.
All the three charred bodies were recovered from the rubble of two houses, which were damaged in the gunfight.
Two AK-47 rifles and huge cache of ammunition was recovered from the rubble.
The duo, according to police, was roaming in the area from last two months and police was following them.
"They were roaming in the area from last two months. We launched many CASOs to nab them but couldn't establish contact,” the SSP said.
According to police sources, Ali Bhai was active in Hajin area from last four three years.
“He was luring locals towards militancy and succeeded in transporting top commanders from one area to another,” they said.