SRINAGAR: Three Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists, including a commander from Pakistan, were killed in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Wednesday. The security forces took extreme care and avoided collateral damage by safely evacuating civilians from the area before the anti-terror operation began.
The slain terrorists were identified as Aijaz alias Abu Huraira from Pakistan, and two local terrorists — Javeed Ahmad Rather from Pulwama and Shahnawaz Nazir Ganie from Awantipora. “Aijaz, who was wanted in a string of terror-related cases, was instrumental in luring Kashmiri youth into picking up arms, besides planning and executing terror attacks in the area, including those on police and security establishments,” IGP (Kashmir Range) Vijay Kumar said.
The other two were also involved in several terror crimes and civilian atrocities, police said.
Based on intelligence inputs about the presence of terrorists in Pulwama’s New Colony Hospital road area, a joint team of the Army, CRPF and J&K Police had launched a cordon-and-search operation there late Tuesday, IGP Kumar said.
Once the presence of terrorists was established, the security forces gave the ultras an opportunity to surrender. The holed-in terrorists, however, opened fire at the search party, triggering an encounter. “The operation was temporarily suspended as night fell, even as the cordon remained intact. The terrorists tried to escape taking advantage of the darkness but weren’t successful,” the IGP said.
“As dawn broke, repeated announcements were again made asking the terrorists to surrender, but they once more fired on the security forces. In the ensuing gunfight, the Lashkar trio was killed. Their bodies were recovered along with two AK rifles, a pistol, and other incriminating materials from the site of the encounter,” IGP Kumar said.