Security forces believe they have killed the second militant hiding in the government building at Pampore on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway today but officials said a confirmation can be made only after the bodies are recovered.

Security forces have been pounding the building of Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) since Monday after three militants barged inside the complex with the aim of engaging the law enforicing agencies. The operation to flush out holed up militants entered the third day as security forces continued shelling the multi-storey structure with mortars and rockets to bring it down.

Fire and smoke rises from the government building where suspected militants have taken refuge during a gun battle in Pampore, 16 kms from Srinagar on Tuesday. A group of ultras took shelter inside EDI building on Monday morning. PTIFire and smoke rises from the government building where suspected militants have taken refuge during a gun battle in Pampore, 16 kms from Srinagar on Tuesday. A group of ultras took shelter inside EDI building on Monday morning. PTI

Fire and smoke rises from the government building where suspected militants have taken refuge during a gun battle in Pampore, 16 kms from Srinagar on Tuesday. A group of ultras took shelter inside EDI building on Monday morning. PTI

An army official said on Wednesday, “We believe that another militant has been killed in the fresh assault on the EDI building at Pampore but a confirmation will be made only after the body is recovered”. He said the security forces have not recovered the body of the militant who was believed to have been killed last evening.

The security forces have managed to enter one portion of the building but are proceeding cautiously as one more militant might be hiding inside.

“The operation at Pampore is still going on but it is definitely now in final stages,” the official said.

The operation has been now going on for 52 hours as most parts of the concrete building have been reduced to a skeleton after many of its walls were blown up.

Elite Para commandos of the army have also been called in to neutralise the militants but the security personnel are not rushing in to the building to avoid casualties, the officials said.

The area around the EDI premises has been cordoned off to prevent the militants from escaping, the official said. Two to three militants stormed into the EDI complex in the wee hours of Monday and took positions inside one of the buildings.

The ultras could have entered the complex from the riverside but that can only be ascertained once the operation is over, the officials said.

After getting inside the complex, the militants set on fire few mattresses inside a hostel room to attract the attention of the police and other security forces, which arrived within minutes of the smoke emanating from the building.

In the initial exchange of firing, one army soldier was injured, the officials said. Militants had targeted the EDI building in February this year as well.

Five security force personnel including two young army officers and a civilian employee of the Institute and three militants were killed in that operation which lasted 48 hours.

With inputs from PTI

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Pampore attack: Two militants neutralised as gunbattle enters third day