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Five terrorists killed in two separate encounters in Kashmir

Srinagar, Jan 30 (PTI) In a major success for security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, a top self-styled commander of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) was among five terrorists killed in two separate overnight encounters in Pulwama and Budgam districts of the valley, officials said on Sunday.

JeM commander Zahid Wani was active since 2017 and was involved in several killings and recruitment of youths into terrorist ranks.

Speaking to reporters at a joint press conference in Pulwama, IGP, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, and GoC of the Army’s Victor Force Major General Prashant Srivastava said the gunfights, which broke out on Saturday, took place in Pulwama and Budgam districts of the Kashmir Valley after the security forces received specific inputs about the presence of terrorists.

Four JeM terrorists were killed in the encounter in Naira area of Pulwama in south Kashmir. One Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist, who was identified as Bilal Ahmad Khan, a resident of Chill Brass Khansahab, was killed in Chrar-i-Sharief area of central Kashmir’s Budgam.

“Zahid Wani was a top commander of Jaish. His brother was involved in the Ban Plaza attack (in Jammu) and is in jail. Wani was active since 2017, involved in several killings, recruitment. After the killing of Sameer Dar, he became the district commander of JeM. In fact, he was the Jaish chief of the whole valley. It was a good operation and I want to congratulate the security forces,” Kumar told reporters.

The IGP said so far this month, there have been 11 encounters in which 21 terrorists, including eight Pakistanis, have been killed. Thirteen of these terrorists were linked with JeM.

Complimenting the security forces’ team for carrying out the operation under the most challenging circumstances, Victor Force GoC Srivastava said the Pulwama operation was not an isolated one, but a part of a series of human intelligence-based operations that have been undertaken in the jurisdiction of the Army’s 15 Corps in the past few months.

He said Wani was among the masterminds of various IED attacks that have taken place since 2017.

“With this success, we have taken a very important step in neutralising the threat of JeM in this area. With the neutralising of Wani, we have eliminated one of the masterminds of various IED attacks that have taken place over the years since 2017,” he added.

Wani was also involved in the “extensive recruitment” of young boys into militancy, Srivastava said.

“He (Wani) misled them to their untimely death and caused a lot of anguish to the families and the people residing in this area. His elimination will provide a lot of relief to the residents of the district and indeed the entire J-K,” the GoC said.

A police spokesman identified the four terrorists killed in the Pulwama encounter as Zahid Ahmad Wani alias Uzair, a resident of Karimabad, Pulwama; Kafeel Bhari alias Chotu, a resident of Pakistan; Waheed Ahmad Reshi, a resident of Khadermoh Kakapora; and Inayat Ahmad Mir, a resident of Naira, Pulwama.

Kumar said the owner of the house in Naira, where the encounter took place, will be booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Speaking about Mir, the son of the house owner, the IGP said, “This is the best example of a hybrid terrorist. There are many persons who are not listed as terrorists but they join them. Inayat was asked to surrender but he along with militants kept on firing at the security forces and was killed.” The officer said the focus of the security forces was on neutralising Pakistani and hybrid terrorists.

“In the last two months, one or two FTs (foreign terrorists) have been killed in every encounter. It is a good thing for us. The FTs come down from the higher reaches in the winter to the villages. The villagers inform us, we launch operations and that FT is killed.

“It is a fact that the number of FTs and locals is equal this time. We will neutralise them… Pakistani terrorists and hybrid terrorists are a challenge for us. We are focusing on both and will keep on neutralising them,” he said.

Kumar said it is the first time that the number of terrorists has dropped below 200. “We tried our best to get it below 100 this year,” he added.

Kumar said the terrorists are getting arms and ammunition through various ways.

“You have seen in the Jammu region, there were 35 attempts (to supply arms) in which drones were seized. Many arms came via drones, they come by road as well, sometimes through infiltration. So, there are a lot of ways. But we are making our network stronger through human intelligence and technical intelligence and we will seize and neutralise the threat,” he said.

Asked about videos of terrorists brandishing various assault rifles, Kumar said every year in January-February, “the terrorists release such propaganda videos to increase recruitment”.

“They show some weapons which are not present here. But still, if such a weapon comes here, then our security forces are capable enough to neutralise that threat. There is no need to worry,” he said. PTI SSB DIV DIV

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.


Source: The Print

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