Hunt underway to nab 2 more Jaish IED experts: IGP
Three Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants including a top commander, who had participated in Afghanistan war before sneaking into Kashmir, were killed in a gunbattle with forces in south Kashmir's Pulwama district on Wednesday.
A senior police officer said the gunfight between forces and militants broke out at Kangan area of Pulwama after a cordon and search operation was launched during the intervening night of June 02 and 03.
The anti-militancy operation was launched after intelligence inputs about presence of militants in the area, he said.
The officer said when forces were zeroing-on on the target location, the hiding militants opened fire on the forces, who retaliated, triggering an encounter.
Srinagar-based defence spokesman, Colonel Rajesh Kalia said the announcements were made for militants to surrender but they fired upon the forces.
Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said the encounter raged on Wednesday morning in which three militants were killed.
"All of them were associated with JeM and one among them is Pakistani identified as Abdul Rehman alias Fauji Bhai, a resident of Multan Pakistan," Kumar told reporters in a news conference here.
The IGP said Rehman, who had participated in the war against allied forces in violence-ridden Afghanistan in the past, was active in south Kashmir since 2017.
Kumar said the Pakistani militant was an IED expert, who was the mastermind of recently averted car bomb, which was intercepted by forces and later detonated on May 28 in Pulwama.
The militants had escaped from the scene but had left the explosive-ladden car behind.
"His plan was to carryout a big incident," IGP Kashmir said.
Terming the killing of Rehman a "big success" for forces, he said the Pakistani militant had managed to escape from forces dragnet during an encounter in December 2019 when top JeM militant Kamran was killed.
About two others militants killed in today’s encounter, IGP said their identification was being ascertained.
"Some say they could be local militants. The potential parents of these militants have been called in for identification. If they are identified, their families will be allowed to participate in the funeral at Baramulla," Kumar said adding the process was on to conduct the autopsy of the killed militants and collect the DNA samples in case they are not identified.
IGP said killing of Rehman was another success for forces in Kashmir after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Reyaz Naikoo.
Kumar said there were at least two more IED experts among the JeM cadre in Kashmir -- Walid Bhai and Lambu Bhai, both Pakistani residents, who are active in Kulgam and Pulwama districts respectively.
"The forces were working to get them too," he said adding there was a possibility of more IED possession among the JeM militants.
Today, forces recovered a 35 kg explosive was recovered in Anantnag district and a person was also arrested in this case, he said.
"There is a possibility of occurrence of more incidents. But forces are working on inputs to neutralise them," Kumar said.
Wednesday's gunbattle was second firefight in Pulwama district in two days.
On Tuesday, two militants were killed in a gunfight with forces at Saimuh village in Awantipora area of Pulwama.