- Security forces killed top terrorist of Jaish-e-Mohammed
- Pakistan-based group carried out suicide bombing in Pulwama
- Another Jaish terrorist killed in encounter was a local bomb specialist
Security forces on Monday claimed a victory with the killing of a top terrorist of Jaish-e-Mohammad, the Pakistan-based group that carried out the suicide bombing in Pulwama on February 14, killing over 40 soldiers. Kamran, one of the two terrorists killed in an encounter just 10 km from the Pulwama terror site, was a close aide of Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar and is believed to be a key conspirator in the deadliest terror attack in recent times.
Another top Jaish terrorist killed in the 12-hour encounter was Hilal Ahmed, a local bomb specialist. A third terrorist was also shot dead; the police are trying to identify him.
While eliminating the terrorists, the forces also suffered a huge loss; a major, three soldiers and one policeman were killed in the encounter.
In photos released by security agencies, Kamran is a thin, unremarkable man holding an AK-47 rifle. But the deceptively unexceptional man in a salwar kameez was a deadly terrorist from Pakistan, the "chief operational commander" of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, say sources. He was known to be an ace terror recruiter tasked with radicalizing and training terrorists in the Kashmir Valley.
"One of the two slain JeM (Jaish-e-Mohammed) terrorists was a top commander and belonged to Pakistan," said Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia.
Sources say Kamran had been hunted for years but had managed to stay under the radar as he traveled from village to village to draw young men into terror.
Cops say he plotted the attack on the CRPF convoy in which over 40 soldiers were killed by a 19-year-old suicide attacker, Adil Ahmad Dar, who had joined the Jaish last year. Dar drove near the convoy and detonated 60 kg of RDX stocked in his car.
Dar, a school dropout who lived 10 km from the site where he blew himself up, was recruited by Kamran, it is believed. Kamran was his handler, say investigators.
Last night's encounter at Pinglan began after midnight as the forces received inputs that high-value targets were hiding in the area.
Personnel of the 55 Rashtriya Rifles, CRPF and the Special Operation Group of the Jammu and Kashmir police were involved in the encounter.
In the initial burst of gunfire, four soldiers and a civilian were critically wounded. Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, Hawaldar Sheo Ram and Sepoys Hari Singh and Ajay Kumar died of their injuries.
This morning, the bodies of the two terrorists were found.