October 11, 2020 2:32:15 am
Four militants, including at least one Pakistani national, were killed in two separate gunfights with security forces in south Kashmir over a 24-hour period. Police said one of the slain militants was the operational head of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
The first encounter took place in Kulgam district. Late on Friday, a joint team of forces cordoned off Chingam village in the district after inputs about the presence of militants. As the joint team were zeroing in on the target, militants opened fire.
Two militants were killed in the retaliatory fire. Police have identified the killed militants as Tariq Ahmad Mir of Zangalpora Divsar Kulgam and Sameer Bhai alias Usman, a Pakistani national. Police said the killed militants were associated with the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and were “part of groups responsible for carrying out terrorist attacks”.
The second encounter occurred on Saturday afternoon. A joint team of J&K Police, the Army and paramilitary forces cordoned off Pulwama’s Dadoora village after specific inputs about the presence of militants. As the joint team of forces were zeroing in on the target, the trapped militants opened fire, triggering a gunfight.
“In the ensuing encounter, 02 terrorists were killed while the third one was arrested alive,” Police said in a statement. Police have identified one of the slain militants as Zahid Nazir Bhat alias Zahid Tiger, a resident of Drubgam village in Pulwama. Police said that the identity of the second militant is being ascertained. “However, as per the reliable sources, he is believed to be a Pakistani national,” the statement said.
According to police, Zahid, who joined the militant ranks in 2017, was the LeT operational commander. They said the slain militants had a “history of terror crime records” and were involved in “planning and executing several terror attacks on security establishments”.
The militant arrested from the encounter site was identified as Firdous Ahmad Tak, a resident of Dhara Posta Doda in Jammu region. Police said they recovered weapons from his possession.
The police have not handed over the bodies of the slain militants to their families, citing the Covid-19 pandemic. “Keeping in view the prevailing pandemic and to ensure the safety of people from inherent risk of contracting the infection, the dead bodies of the killed terrorists shall be sent to Handwara for burial after completion of all medico-legal formalities,” police said.
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