In a fierce gunbattle between security forces and militants, mastermind of Ayodhya suicide attack and self-styled chief of Jaish-e-Mohmmad of Jammu region Dawood Khan was gunned down in Poonch district, police said on Monday.
Acting on a tip off, troops of 37 and 39 Rastriya Rifles and Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir police launched a combing operation in Narol forest area in Mendhar belt on Sunday, Inspector General of Police of Jammu Ashok Gupta said.
A gunbattle took place in which Dawood was killed, he said, adding that an AK rifle and three magazines were recovered from his possession.
Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda has complimented the operation party for its success in eliminating one of the most wanted terrorists in the state.
"We have achieved a major success by killing Abdullah Sani alias Dawood Khan in an encounter last night," Gupta said.
Dawood, a Pakistani militant and resident of Dabowal village in southern Pakistan, was incharge of JeM in the region. He had planned and executed the Aydhoya attack in 2005, he said.
Five militants of LeT and four persons, including three CRPF jawans were killed in the suicide attack at Ayodhya on July 5, 2005.
Poonch Senior Superintendent of Police Manmohan Singh said Dawood had sent trained militants from Mendhar area of Poonch district for the fidayeen (suicide) attack at Aydhoya in Uttar Pradesh.
Dawood, operating under code name Sheikh, was also working as coordinator of militants of various outfits in the border district of Rajouri and Poonch, Gupta said.
He was the key man in assigning tasks to militants besides motivating them and sending them across to Pakistan to attend arms training camps.
Dawood was trained in handling arms and explosives and assembling IEDs, besides carrying out ambushes. He had entered Jammu and Kashmir via Poonch in 1998 and was operating in Doda, Kishtwar, Gool, Ramban, Mahore, Rajouri and Poonch belts as a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant. He joined the JeM in 2002.
Dawood had managed to escaped when security forces challenged a group of militants in a nine-day gunbattle in Bhatti Dhar forest belt in Mendhar on January one last year.