Militant Killed, 3 Soldiers Injured In Anantnag Firefight

KO File Photo: Abid Bhat

Srinagar- Army on Saturday claimed to have killed a Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander in an overnight encounter in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district, in which three soldiers and a civilian were also injured.

Around 3:45 pm Friday, Army and police launched a cordon and search operation (CASO) in Reshipora village of Verinag on the basis of specific information regarding presence of a militant in the village, a defence spokesperson said Saturday.

Three hours after the operation was launched, he said, the hiding militant indiscriminately fired at the search team and tried to escape by “targeting civilians” to divert the attention of the forces.

In the militant’s firing, the spokesperson claimed that a civilian Mukhtar Ahmed Malik was grievously injured

“Sensing grave threat to the life of the injured civilian, two of our brave soldiers, Lance Naik Achal Patwari and Sepoy Amandeep Singh commenced his extraction from the operation site, despite being heavily fired upon by the terrorist,” he said.

The spokesperson further said that the soldiers with complete disregard to their own safety, were successful in evacuating the civilian to a safe location. However, due to incessant fire from the militant, he said, both the soldiers received gunshot wounds.

“All three injured individuals were immediately airlifted to 92 Base Hospital by Army Helicopter. Timely evacuation and medical intervention led to the saving of all three precious lives,” he said. Forces and

Around 1:00 am Saturday, the spokesperson said that the lone militant again fired at the forces and attempted to escape through a nearby nallah.

However, the alert troops, he said, effectively engaged the escaping militant and neutralised him.

The spokesperson said that one AK-rifle along with other warlike stores were recovered from the slain militant.

Meanwhile, a police spokesperson in a handout issued here Saturday evening identified the slain militant as Nisar Khanday, Hizb commander active since the year 2018.

As per police records, he said, Khanday was a categorized militant and was part of the groups involved in several cases including attacks on Police/SF and “civilian atrocities”.

The spokesperson said that Khanday was detained under PSA after he was arrested with arms and ammunition in 2000.

Before joining militant ranks in 2018, he said, the killed commander was working as the militant associate of HM.

“He has been involved in several killings of civilians and security forces besides mastermind in fresh recruitment of youth in terror rank,” he added.

According to the spokesperson, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar congratulated the joint teams for carrying out the operation in professional manner and neutralising the wanted militant commander.

“He also appreciated the valour and dedication of injured personnel and prayed for their speedy recovery,” he said.

The spokesperson further said that incriminating materials, arms & ammunition including 01 AK-47 rifle was recovered from the site of encounter. He said all the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation.

“In this regard, 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 at encounter site is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials, if any.” He added.

‘Militant, Two Aides Held For Udhampur Attack’

Meanwhile the Jammu and Kashmir Police said it has arrested a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant and his two associates in connection with the low-intensity IED explosion outside a court complex in Udhampur district in March in which one person was killed and 14 were injured.

Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Mukesh Singh told reporters on Saturday here that a number of suspects were questioned before the investigators zeroed in on and arrested Mohammad Ramzan Sohil, a resident of Halla Bohar Dhar in Ramban district.

The other two arrested accused were identified as Khurshed Ahmed of Motla Dessa in Doda and Nisar Ahmed Khan of Bhaderwah.

Sohil confessed to planting the IED on the directions of his handler Mohammad Amin, alias Khubaib, a resident of Kathawa Thathri in Doda who is currently based in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir (PcK), the police officer said.

The improvised explosive device (IED) blast took place on March 9 outside the court complex in Slathia Chowk where fruit and vegetable vendors put up their carts.

Sohil’s father Mohammad Ishaq Sohil was a trained militant of the LeT and was neutralised in 2003, the ADGP said.

“Sohil was in contact with…Khubaib through social media. He was instructed to fix one sticky bomb IED at Slathia Chowk and keep another at a safe place for future use,” he said, adding that the second IED has been recovered.

He received an amount of Rs 30,000 in his Jammu and Kashmir Bank account on March 23 for the blast he carried out in Udhampur as promised by Khubaib, the ADGP said.

Singh said the amount was deposited in Sohil’s account by Khurshed Ahmed on the directions of Khubaib.

“Khurshed’s brother-in-law, named Bilal Ahmed Butt, is a trained terrorist of the LeT,” he said.

The third arrested accused, Nisar Ahmed Khan, was a trained LeT militant and remained active in Doda district between 2001 and 2006, he said.

On the directions of Khubaib, he picked up two IEDs — in December 2021 and January 2022 — from Belicharana in Jammu, the police officer said.

The investigation in the case was underway and more people are expected to be arrested, the ADGP said, adding 15 people have been identified for questioning in connection with various other militant incidents. (with PTI inputs)

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