Colonel and Major among 5 security personnel killed in gun battle in Jammu and Kashmir’s Handwara

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The Indian army on Sunday lost a Colonel and a Major in a gun battle with militants in Jammu and Kashmir’s Handwara. They were among five security personnel killed in the Sunday’s encounter. Two militants were also killed in the encounter.

Army officers killed in today’s gun battle have been identified as Col Ashutosh Sharma and Major Anuj Sood. Also killed in the encounter was Jammu and Kashmir Police Sub-Inspector Shakeel Qazi. Two other Indian army personnel killed in the encounter have been identified as Naik Rajesh Kumar and Lance Naik Dinesh. All four army personnel belonged to the 21 Rashtriya Rifles unit.

A report by news agency PTI said that Col Sharma was leading a team to rescue civilians who had been taken hostage by the militants hiding in a house at the Chanjmullah area of Handwara in north Kashmir.

The Indian security personnel engaged in the rescue operation came under heavy fire forcing them to also retaliate.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had posted a cryptic tweet on Saturday night about the Handwara incident as he wrote, “Keeping an eye on the news coming out from Handwara. Best not to speculate. Let the people on the ground do their job. I’ve seen various scenarios talked about here on social media but it’s better to wait for formal confirmation/announcement.”

The Indian security team launched a huge offensive in the early hours of Sunday after they were unable to establish contact with Col Sharma and his team.

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