A 14-year-old boy, who had joined terrorist ranks 3 days ago, was among 5 terrorists killed on Sunday in two back-to-back overnight encounters with security forces in south Kashmir. With this, 12 terrorists have been eliminated in four encounters during the past 72 hours in the valley.

Two terrorists who had on Friday night killed an unarmed Army soldier, Mohammad Saleem Akhoon, in his home in Bijbehara, were also eliminated in a separate encounter in Anantnag district, an Army spokesman said.

The minor boy who was killed this morning in the encounter in Shopian, has been identified as a resident of Chitragam in Shopian.

IGP (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar said that police and security forces made efforts to take surrender of the boy. His parents also made appeals for his surrender but other terrorists didn’t let him.

Troops of the Army, CRPF and J&K police eliminated the five terrorists (3 in Reban Bandpawa area of Shopian and 2 in Semthan village of Bijbehara in Anantnag district) in the two encounters. These terrorists belonged to Al- Badr and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfits. An AK-56 rifle, two AK-47 rifles and two pistols were recovered from the encounter spots.

A joint cordon and search operation was launched in Shopian village by police, 34RR of the Army and 178 battalion CRPF following intelligence inputs about presence of three terrorists in the area. The terrorists were given an opportunity to surrender but they started firing indiscriminately at the security forces. In the initial retaliatory firing, one terrorist was killed, but the operation was suspended to give the trapped terrorists another chance to surrender, said police.

The security forces facilitated the presence of family members of the 14-year-old at the encounter site in a bid to persuade him to surrender. However, despite repeated appeals by the family and assurances by the security forces, the other terrorists didn’t allow him to surrender. Ultimately in the wee hours, during the gunfight both the trapped terrorists were killed.