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Top JeM ultra, 2 Hizbul men killed

| | Srinagar
Top JeM ultra, 2 Hizbul men killed

Security forces claimed a major success in Kashmir on Monday after eliminating a top-ranking commander of the terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), while two Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists were killed in a separate encounter in south Kashmir’s Pulwama area. Meanwhile, a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) was killed during an exchange of fire with terrorists in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Monday.

Official sources said Pakistan-based JeM suffered a major setback after its chief operations commander Khalid Bhai, a Pakistani national, was killed in a brief gunfight at Ladoora Baramulla, 60 km north of Srinagar. Khalid was behind re-organising the JeM outfit in Kashmir and masterminded recent suicide attacks, sources said.

He had recently carried out an attack on a Special Police Officer (SPO) and his seven-year-old son at Handwara, they said and added that Khalid was an A++ category top ranking terrorist and carried a bounty of nearly Rs 7 lakh on his head.

Sources said security forces had received information about Khalid’s presence and his possible movement in the area, and subsequently men in plain clothes put up a checkpoint in Ladoora Village along the Baramulla-Handwara Highway.

On being intercepted, Khalid hurled a grenade towards the police party and escaped to take shelter in a nearby building. The building was later surrounded and the terrorist was killed in a brief encounter.

The security agencies have termed Khalid’s elimination as a major achievement as the terror outfit was planning more suicide attacks in Kashmir. The JeM’s Afzal Guru Squad has carried out at least two deadly attacks in Kashmir in the recent past that left nine security personnel dead.

“Khalid was the brain behind the recent fidayeen attacks and the security forces were pursuing him for quite some time. His elimination was a major success for them,” police chief Shesh Paul Ved said.

In a separate encounter, two terrorists of the Hizbul Mujahideen outfit were killed during a gunfight at Gatipora Village in south Kashmir’s Shopian district. An official said that the gunfight began after a joint party of the Army, SOG of Jammu & Kashmir Police and CRPF cordoned off Gatipora Village following “specific” inputs about the presence of extremists.

“When the security forces closed on the house in which the terrorists were hiding, the ultras opened fire at them, triggering a gunfight. Two extremists have been killed in this ongoing operation so far. Initial reports said three militants were hiding in the house,” a police officer said. The gunfight was continuing till last reports came in from the area.

Meanwhile, a JCO of 53 Rashtriya Rifles battalion was killed when a patrol party came under fire in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Sunday night in the general area of Drang, Budgam, 40 km from Srinagar and the fire was returned.

“One soldier was martyred in the crossfire,” Srinagar-based Defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said.  The slain soldier was identified as Subedar Raj Kumar, 46, a resident of Khanni Nurpur, Kangra in Himachal Pradesh.



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