JeM commander among 2 militants killed in Valley
Two militants, including a top Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) commander from Pakistan responsible for a car explosion last month that claimed the lives of two army soldiers, were killed on Saturday in a gunbattle with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district, the police said.
The police identified the slain commander as Munna Lahori, alias Bihari, and his associate, a local, as Mir Zeenat of the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM). The two were killed in a cordon-and-search operation launched jointly by army soldiers and the police in Bonbazar area of Shopian town, acting on information they had received about the presence of the militants.
“Both were wanted by the law for their complicity in several terror crimes including attacks on security establishments, and atrocities on civilians,” a police spokesman said.
Several cases had been registered against Zeenat including one relating to the abduction and killing of civilian Irfan Hameed of Zainapora.
“Similarly, Munna was involved in planning and executing a series of terror attacks on security establishments, and many other civilian atrocities in the area,” the spokesman said.
The JeM commander was allegedly involved in a case pertaining to the detonation of an improvised explosive device (IED) planted in a vehicle in the Arihal area of Pulwama on June 17 in which two security force personnel were killed.
“Several other terror crime cases were registered against him. He was also responsible for the recruitment of locals to the terrorist ranks,” the police spokesman said.
Police said Munna Labori was used by the Jaish for recruitment of militants in south Kashmir, adding that incriminating material including arms and ammunition had been recovered from the site of the shootout, the third between security forces and militants so far this month.
A 19-year-old, Adnan Ahmad Channa of Baramulla, who joined LeT militants some four months ago, was killed in an encounter with security forces in north Kashmir on July 17. On July 5, a Hizbul Mujahideen militant was killed in a gunfight with security forces in Shopian district.
Last month, 24 militants were killed in encounters with security forces, which lost 12 of their own men. Five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in an attack on security forces in Anantnag on June 12. Jammu and Kashmir police officer Arshad Khan, who was injured in the attack, died on June 16.
The Anantnag attack was the worst since the February 14 suicide car bombing that left 40 CRPF personnel dead in Pulwama. The JeM claimed responsibility for the attack, in reprisal for which the Indian Air Force bombed a terror camp run by the group in Balakot in Pakistan.
This year, security forces have so far killed 129 militants, including the two who died in Shopian on Saturday. Seventy-five security force personnel have also been killed, including the 40 CRPF jawans who died in the Pulwama car bombing.