A Major of the army and a top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen were killed in a fierce clash at southern Kashmir’s Bijbehar town early on Tuesday. Defence spokesperson Lt Col AK Mathur said that the operation was still on.
The clash occurred after troops of RR-1 and para regiment, on specific information, laid siege around a house at Babamohalla in Bijbehar town at 4 am on Tuesday.
Sources said that the troops searched the house for about three hours but could not find the terrorist.
"But the army source insisted that a top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen was hiding in the house," said a source, "and the soldiers re-launched the search operation".
Sources said that Major MH Pitambre, who was leading the operation, hit a wall of the house with the butt of his gun to stumble on a possible undercover hideout. “The wall smashed abruptly and the terrorist fired a volley of bullets from inside on the Major”, said a source adding that the army officer died instantly.
Defence spokesperson said that the soldiers retaliated and gunned down the militant inside the hideout. He said that the slain terrorist Ashraf alias Suhail Fazal was a divisional commander of Hizbul Mujahideen for south Kashmir.
He described the killing of Hizb commander as a major setback to the outfit and said that Suhail was not only responsible for several killings but was also a top functionary of the group.
"He organised and trained attacks in south Kashmir. His killing is a demoralising blow to the terrorists," Lt Col AK Mathur said. He said that the operation was still on.