- Encounter in Pulwama days after 40 CRPF jawans died in terror attack
- A civilian was also reportedly killed in encounter, said police sources
- Two or three terrorists are believed to be still hiding in the area
A Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist, believed to be a key conspirator in the Pulwama terror attack, was shot dead today in a 12-hour encounter in which four soldiers, including an officer, and a policeman were killed. Kamran, one of the two terrorists killed in the encounter, was a Pakistani and a key aide of Jaish-e-Mohammad's Pakistan-based chief Masood Azhar.
The elimination of Kamran is considered a big boost for the security forces after the attack on February 14 in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldiers were killed by a locally recruited suicide bomber, Adil Ahmed Dar. Sources say Kamran was responsible for recruiting, radicalising and training terrorists in the Kashmir Valley.
The second terrorist killed today was Hilal Ahmed, a local Kashmiri bomb specialist.
The overnight encounter took place just 10 km from the site of the Thursday attack, which is the worst ever terror strike on the forces in Kashmir.
The soldiers killed in the operation belonged to the 55 Rashtriya Rifles. Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, 34, was from Dehradun. The others killed are Sepoy Hari Singh, 27, Havaldar Sheo Ram, 37, and Sepoy Ajay Kumar, 27.
A head constable of the police, Abdul Rashid, was also killed. Amit Kumar, the Deputy Inspector General of south Kashmir, was hit by a bullet in the leg.
A civilian was also killed in the encounter, said the police.
The Northern Command of the army tweeted its tribute to the officer and soldiers, saying: "...salute the supreme sacrifice of our brave officer and soldiers and offer deepest condolences to the families."
A targeted operation was launched a little after midnight on a tip-off that three Jaish terrorists, including the handler of the Pulwama suicide bomber, were hiding in the Pinglan area.
Personnel of the 55 Rashtriya Rifles, two batallions of the CRPF and the Special Operation Group of the Jammu and Kashmir police were involved in the encounter.
The country is still grieving the death of the 40 soldiers, who were on their way to Srinagar to report for duty after leave, when suicide bomber Adil Ahmed Dar drove his car close to a CRPF convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar highway and detonated around 60 kg of RDX. Adil Ahmed Dar had joined the Pakistan-based terror group a year ago.