Jaish commander among five terrorists killed in Kashmir | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Jaish commander among five terrorists killed in Kashmir

By, Srinagar
Jan 31, 2022 12:10 AM IST

The Jammu and Kashmir Police identified the terrorist as Zahid Wani, who, it said, was active since 2017, and was linked to several attacks on security forces in the Valley.

Security forces shot dead a top Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) commander along with four other terrorists in two separate encounters in Jammu and Kashmir, officials familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

Security personnel stand guard in Srinagar (PTI)
Security personnel stand guard in Srinagar (PTI)

The gunfights between the terrorists and joint teams of police, Indian Army, and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) broke out in the Valley’s Pulwama and Budgam districts on Saturday evening, Kashmir’s inspector general of police (IGP) Vijay Kumar said.

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“The encounters resulted in the elimination of five terrorists linked to proscribed terror outfits JeM and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The killed terrorists include a top JeM commander, Zahid Wani, and a foreign Pakistani terrorist Kafeel Bhai alias Chotu. The elimination of the most wanted terrorists is a big success for us,” he said.

An active terrorist since 2017, Wani was linked to several attacks on security forces in Kashmir, officials said.

“Zahid Wani was a top commander of the Jaish. His brother was involved in the Ban Plaza attack (in Jammu) and is in jail. Wani was active since 2017 and involved in several killings. After the killing of Sameer Dar, he became the district commander of JeM. In fact, he was the Jaish chief of the whole Valley,” Kumar said.

A police spokesperson said that Wani was “involved in various attacks on patrolling parties of the army in Rajpora and Pulwama, along with a grenade attack on a police station in Pulwama and firing upon a CRPF camp in Rajpora”.

The two gunfights are the latest in a series of encounters between the forces and terrorists in the region. “In the current year so far, 21 terrorists, including eight Pakistanis have been killed in 11 encounters,” Kumar said at the press conference. The Valley’s top cop said it was for the first time that the number of terrorists in the region has gone below 200. “We tried our best to get it below 100 this year,” he added.

Wani was an IED expert and was also linked to the killing of civilian Azad Ahmad Dar in Pulwama, the officials added.

“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,” Major General Prashant Srivastava, the General officer Commanding (GoC) of the Victor Force said.

Wani was also involved in the “extensive recruitment” of youngsters for the terror outfit, he added. “He (Wani) misled them to their untimely death and caused a lot of anguish to the families and the people who are residing in this area. His elimination will provide a lot of relief to the residents of the district and indeed in the entire J&K,” the GoC Victor Force said.

The police said that they launched a joint cordon and search operation along with the army and CRPF after getting information regarding the presence of terrorists in Pulwama’s Naira village.

A police spokesperson said that the hiding terrorists fired indiscriminately at the approaching search team.

“After the evacuation of civilians to a safer place, the firing was retaliated, leading to an encounter. In the ensuing gunfight, four Jaish terrorists, including Wani, were killed,” the spokesperson said. The other three terrorists were identified as Bhari and Pulwama’s Waheed Ahmad Reshi and Inayat Ahmad Mir.

An official release said the brother of UN-designated terrorist Masood Azhar controlled this entire terror module.

“This module was directly controlled from across [the border] with the support of Sakargargh and Kotli camps under the direct supervision of Qari Zarar and Mulana Rouf Azhar (brother of Massod Azhar). Pakistan is continuously trying to push these elements into India,” the release, as quoted by PTI, said.

Police said that the encounter took place in a house belonging to Mir’s family, whom they called a “hybrid terrorist”. “This (house owner’s son) is the best example of a hybrid terrorist. There are many persons who are not listed as terrorists but join them. Inayat was asked to surrender but he along with the terrorists kept on firing at the security forces and got killed,” the IGP said, adding that Mir’s family will be booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, for giving shelter to terrorists.

The encounter at central Kashmir’s Budgam district started after an anti-terrorist operation was launched in the Chahr-e-Sharif village, police said.

“As the joint search party was approaching, the hiding terrorist started firing indiscriminately at the team. They retaliated, leading to an encounter,” a police spokesperson said on condition of anonymity. “In the ensuing encounter, the hiding terrorist identified as Bilal Ahmad Khan, linked to LeT, was killed and his body was retrieved from the site of encounter,” he said.

(With agency inputs)

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