Anantnag: An 18 hour-long Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) in Noorpora area of Tral – here in Pulwama district – concluded Saturday morning without contact being established with the holed-up militants, including Zakir Musa, chief of an Al-Qaeda offshoot in Kashmir.
Noorpora is Musa’s native village.
The CASO was launched Friday afternoon at about 3 pm, following specific inputs regarding the presence of Musa and three of his associates in the area.
Soon after the cordon was laid, intense stone-throwing erupted in the area, which was quelled by tear-smoke shelling by the government forces.
“After the initial bout of stone-pelting, it was a smooth operation,” a senior police official told Kashmir Reader.
The cordon remained intact till about 9 am Saturday morning after which the government forces lifted the siege and left the area.
While speculations were rife about Musa having escaped the cordon, a highly-placed police source told Kashmir Reader that it was not easy to escape such a tight cordon.
“I believe he has a hide-out in the area. We are sure that he was present in the area but, despite our best efforts and a night-long search operation, we unfortunately could not pin-point the hide-out,” the official said, on condition of anonymity.
The official said that both human intelligence and phone intercepts confirmed Musa’s presence in the area.
“But there is always a next time,” the official said.