Kashmir : Kiling of SSB jawan in Banihal a terror attack, confirm JK Police; hunt on for three local youths

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SRINAGAR, Sep 21 : The J&K Police Thursday confirmed that the attack on personnel near Banihal town along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway on Wednesday, which killed a Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) official, was carried out by terrorists.

The police is now investigating three local youths, suspected to have joined militant ranks, in connection with the incident.

A senior police officer said four empty pistol cartridges and two mobile phones were discovered from the site of the incident which helped authorities zero in on the three youths. Two of them hail from Kaskoot village while the other is from Ashar village in Banihal area.

Meanwhile, sources identified the youths as Aquib Ahmed, Gazanfar and Mohammad Arif, who have allegedly recently joined militant ranks. Following the shootout, the youths appear to have fled with their weapons, an INSAS rifle and an AR-41 rifle.

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On Wednesday, terrorists opened fire at an SSB head constable and an ASI who were returning to their camp at Thathar, nearly 200 metres from the national highway, from the Nowgam area.

The constable who succumbed to his injuries was identified as Assistant Sub-Inspector Ram Parveshar Yadav. As they were shot from a close range, the police initially did not rule out a case of fratricide killing.

The two officers were helping in the construction of a 8.5 km long tunnel as part of a road widening project of the National Highway Authority of India.

Significantly, terror activity has been reported in Banihal area after nearly seven years. The last time an incident occurred was in 2009, when two Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed by police and security forces in the Khari area.