A civilian was killed in crossfire in a village of South Kashmir this morning during a gunbattle between security forces and three militants of the Lashker-e- Taiba (LeT) who were trapped inside a house. The victim was identified as 34-year-old Mohammad Ashraf Khar, who, according to the police, was caught in crossfire when the encounter started at 10 AM at Arwani village at Bijbehara of Anantnag district, 51 km from here. Khar, a resident of Kharpora Arwani area, was rushed to district hospital at Bijbehara where he was declared brought dead, the police said. He had received a bullet injury in his chest. Some people had started pelting stones on the security personnel immediately after the security forces laid a cordon around the house, located in densely populated Malik Mohalla of the village. The security forces had received an intelligence tip-off that three militants were present inside the house. The accompanying teams of the local police and CRPF used tear gas shells and resorted to firing pellets after the crowd continued to hurl stones at the troops, thereby, hampering the ongoing counter-insurgency operation. Seven people have been admitted to hospital with pellet injuries. Chatter from the terror group suggested that Junaid Mattoo, a local boy of Khudwani, was among the three trapped inside the house along with Azad Malik and a Pakistani terrorist. Mattoo had gained notoriety after he shot dead two policemen in broad daylight at the busy Anantnag bus stand in June 2016.
He was seen on CCTV footage carrying out the dastardly act.