Militant, Soldier killed in Rafiabad Encounter

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Police says, ‘slain militant was involved in killings of Hurriyat activists, former militants’

SRINAGAR:  A militant and an army soldier were killed while a jawan was injured in a fierce gunfight in Ladoora area of Rafiabad in Baramulla district on Wednesday, police said.

“After receiving specific information, a cordon and search operation was launched in Ladoora area of Rafiabad by army’s 32 RR and SOG of JK Police. “As the under search operation was underway, the militant hiding in a residential house started firing on the search parties triggering an encounter,” he said.

The official said that in the ensuing encounter two army jawans sustained injuries and they were immediately rushed to base hospital. He said later one of the injured soldiers, Sishar Malla succumbed to his injuries.

Sources said that the Govt forces, after death of a soldier, decided to blast the house where militant was present. IEDs were planted near the house and detonated resulting in death of the hiding militant. The militant was later identified as Riyaz Ahmad of Brath Kalan Sopore, who was associated with newly floated Lashkar-e-Islam outfit led by Abdul Qayoom Najar.

The police official said the intelligence reports had initially suggested presence of Lashkar-e-Islam  militant Imtiyaz Ahmad Kandoo, a close aide of Qayoom Najar. 

Both Najar and Kandoo are believed to have defied the command of Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salahuddin and have been operating under the shadow name of LeI outfit. 

Both the militants carry a bounty of Rs 10 lakh each on their heads. 

They are accused of killing six people, including separatist activists and former militants in Sopore town.

A police spokesperson in a statement said that said militant was involved in a number of killings in Sopore and adjoining areas including those of Hurriyat (G) activists and former militants early this year.

“He was involved in threatening and terrorizing the land lords of mobile towers and mobile franchise owners. This year the slain militant was involved in the killing of a BSNL franchise owner in June. In this regard number of FIR’s stand registered against the militant,” he said.

The militant had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen outfit last year. He was operating along with Imtiyaz Kandoo alias Fayaz and Adil Mir of Hizb, the police said.

“On 20 December, 2014, he along with Me’raj Halwai and Adil Mir killed Bomai Sarpanch Ghulam Mohammad Bhat. Police also blamed him for the grenade blast in Dangerpora orchards in which three civilians were killed. He was involved in grenade attack on police and Army at Kupwara crossing. On 21 February 2014, he killed one civilian namely Waseem Malla,” the police spokesperson said.

The police said that the slain militant was involved in the killings of Hurriyat (G) activists and ex-militants this year in Sopore. “He was also involved in killing of one Hurriyat activist Sheikh Altaf-ur-Rehman. Riyaz was also involved in the killing of another Hurriyat activist Khursheed Ahmed outside his home. He was involved in the killing of an ex militant Mehraj-u-din Dar. He was involved in the killing of another former militant Aijaz Ahmad Reshi,” the police spokesperson said. 

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