Lashkar Commander, Aide Killed In Srinagar Gunfight: Police

KO Photos: Abid Bhat

Srinagar: A top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Saifullah and his associate Irshad Ahmad Dar were killed on Monday in a fierce gunfight with government forces in the Barzulla area of this capital city. According to police, the militants were killed a week after they shot dead two CRPF personnel, including an officer and injured three others in an audacious attack in Nowgam area here.

In the wee hours Monday, contingents of joint forces launched a cordon and search operation in the old Barzulla area of the uptown Srinagar after receiving what police described as ‘specific inputs’ about the presence of militants in the area. Police said that the militants opened fire upon the search team after turning down the surrender offer

The forces, he said retaliated to the fire triggering off an encounter. In the ensuing firefight the house where the two had taken shelter caught fire and subsequently both militants were killed. Police later retrieved their bodies retrieved from the debris of the house.

The police official identified them as Pakistani national Saifullah, a Lashkar-e-Taiba commander and his associate Irshad Ahmad Dar alias Abu Usama of Trisal, Pulwama.

Irshad, he said was active since May 2019. Police claimed that he was involved in several attacks on state forces besides civilian killings

The police official further said that Saifullah had infiltrated earlier this year and since two months shifted his base from north to south Kashmir. He was involved in planning & executing several major attacks on government forces, including the killing of a CRPF officer at Chadoora on September 24 and the killing of 2 CRPF personnel at Kandizal area of Pampore on October 5.

“He was also part of the group involved in the killing of two police personnel at Nowgam Srinagar on August 14. Besides, he was also involved in firing on a convoy on September 21in Nowgam area,” the police spokesperson said.

He said incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter and the same have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other crimes.

“Keeping in view the prevailing pandemic due to COVID-19 and to ensure the safety of people from inherent risk of contracting the infection, the bodies of the killed militants shall be sent to Baramulla for burial after completion of all medico-legal formalities,” he said, adding “The nearest family members of the killed local militant shall be allowed to participate in the last rites,”

The police spokesperson said that in this connection a case under relevant sections of law has been registered and investigation has been initiated.

“People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials, if any,” the police spokesperson added.

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