Colonel, Major among five security men killed in Handwara

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SRINAGAR — An Army Colonel and a Major were among five security personnel killed in an encounter at a village in Handwara in north Kashmir that also saw the elimination of two militants, officials said on Sunday.

Army officers Col Ashutosh Sharma and Major Anuj, and Jammu and Kashmir Police Sub-Inspector Shakeel Qazi were among the deceased, they said.

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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 frontier Kupwara district of north Kashmir on Saturday, the officials said.

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As the hostages were being rescued, the team, which also consisted of a Lance Naik and a Rifleman, came under heavy fire which was effectively retaliated by the security personnel in the outer cordon, they said.

In the early hours of Sunday, a major offensive was launched by the security forces as there had been no contact with the Colonel or his team, the officials said.

Two militants were killed in the encounter, they said.

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