A top Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) militant, assigned to revive depleting militancy in north Kashmir and brain behind at least half-a-dozen attacks on troops, was killed on Friday in a night-long encounter in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
The Handwara police, CRPF and the Army 21 Rashtriya Rifles encircled a Dudipora village, more than 65 km away from Srinagar, on Thursday afternoon.
“The security forces were working on specific information regarding the movement of LeT commander Abu Hanzla in the village. The terrorist fired upon the joint search party from a hutment of Mohammed Ramzan Hajam. The fire was retaliated. During the encounter Hanzla was killed,” said Handwara superintendent of police Mohammad Aslam.
Hanzala, active since 2007 in north Kashmir, has been pivot of the LeT, active to revive militancy through local recruits. The Pakistani national, who carried a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head, was categorized as A-plus-plus militants and was an expert in explosive making.
“Hanzala was the divisional commander of the LeT in north Kashmir. He is among the top men of the outfit,” said Aslam.
According to the police, Hanzala had been successful to work on a vast network of over-ground workers for the LeT.
Hanzla was killed on Friday morning. “The operation was halted during the night. A tight cordon was maintained with reinforcements to prevent the militant from making any attempt to escape,” said Aslam. The hutment was also damaged in the encounter.
After LeT’s operational commander Abdullah Unni was killed in 2011, Hanzala took over to make fresh recruitments.
“He was involved in facilitating infiltration of terrorists and distribution of terrorists, targeting and killing of civilians and security force personnel,” said the police.
The police claim that the killing has served a severe jolt to the activities of the LeT outfit, particularly in north Kashmir. “It will strongly affect the resolve of its cadre base. His elimination is a major success to police and other security forces on militancy front,” said the police.