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India loses army major, 3 soldiers in Pulwama gunfight

A major and three soldiers, besides a civilian, were killed in a gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district barely 10 km away from the suicide attack spot, police said on Monday.

“Five people were killed in the gunfight that took place on Sunday night in Pinglena village,’ an officer said.

The victims include an Army officer, while the civilian has been identified as Mushtaq Ahmad.

The gunfight started late on Sunday after security forces, including the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Special Operations Group (SOG) of the state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), surrounded the village following a tip-off that Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants — the same group that carried out the February 14 attack leaving a toll 49 troopers — were hiding in the area.

“As the cordon was tightened, the holed-up militants fired triggering the gunfight. Firing exchanges have again started at the encounter site,” the police added.

The gun battle comes less than a week after 40 CRPF troopers were blown up in an instant just four days back after their convoy was targeted by a JeM suicide bomber on the Jammu-Srinagar highway in Pulwama.

The suicide attack on the convoy carrying troopers towards Srinagar had blown up a bus when an explosives-packed SUV rammed into the paramilitary vehicle. It was the worst-ever attack in Jammu and Kashmir since militancy erupted in the state in1989.

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