Indigenous militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen’s recruiter and improvised explosives devices (IED) expert with more than 18 years in active militancy was killed in a brief encounter in north Kashmir’s Sopore area on Sunday.
Muhammad Shafi Sheikh alias Shafi Peer, a resident of Zaloora was a battalion commander of the Hizb and was an ‘A-plus’ category militant for the police.
A joint search operation of the police, CRPF and the army was launched around 3 am on Sunday. The searching party zeroed in on the house of Manzoor Ahmad Naikoo at Seelu village, Sopore.
“The hiding militant tried to escape through an orchard located behind the house of Naikoo. He fired a few shots while he was fleeing. In the retaliatory fire, the militant was killed inside the orchard,” superintendent of police Abdul Qayoom told HT.
According to police records, Sheikh, who is around 45 years old, crossed over to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) in 1995 and returned to Kashmir in 98. He was arrested and released thrice, in 2003, 2006 and 2008 respectively.
Sheikh was involved in the killing of a constable, Muhammad Shafi, and planted an IED in Sopore area last year.