Baramulla: Three Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants, including the outfit’s divisional commander, were killed Monday in a fierce gunbattle in Sopore area of this north Kashmir district, police said.
A group of militants was passing through Muqdam Mohalla in Dooru area in the outskirts of Sopore when Army’s elite paratroopers, joined by the soldiers of 22 RR and Special Operations Group (SOG) of police intercepted them, the police officials said.
“One of the militants opened fire at the soldiers. In the initial exchange of fire two soldiers were injured. They were identified as Ajeet Pradhan and S Kapur of 22 RR,” the officials said.
“As the gunfight was on, two militants rushed towards a cowshed belonging to Ghulam Mohammad Pal, and engaged the forces in fierce gunbattle. The forces cordoned off the cowshed and the adjoining residential houses and made public announcements asking people to vacate their houses. Later, the paratroopers carried out final assault and killed the three militants. They have been identified as JeM’s divisional commander Abu Hassan, Muzamil alias Farooq and Rizwan,” the officials added. They said the slain militants belonged to Pakistan.
“The three foreign militants affiliated to Jaish were killed in the encounter. The group led by Abu Hassan had recently arrived in Sopore. Earlier, they were active for over a year in Lolab valley of Kupwara,” Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Abdul Gani Mir told reporters.
“Abu Hassan had taken over as the outfit’s commander after the killing of Qari Yasir in a gunfight in Lolab in July last year,” the IGP added.
Three AK-47 rifles, seven magazines, two cell phones and a wireless set were claimed recovered from the encounter site.
Meanwhile, the killing of the militants sparked protests in the area. Groups of youth assembled at Dooru bus stop and staged pro-freedom and anti-India demonstrations, reports said.