Sopore: Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) chief operational commander Khalid alias Shahid Showkat was killed by government forces in a brief gunfight that started early Monday morning in Ladoora village of Rafiabad on the outskirts of Sopore town.
Khalid was among the top five most-wanted militants in Kashmir Valley right now. The other militants on this list are Zakir Musa, Riyaz Naikoo, Saddam Padder and Zeenat-ul-Islam.
According to a senior police officer, the militant was being tracked and police had laid a naka at Ladoora village. As soon as Khalid reached near the police naka, he attempted to escape by throwing a grenade. The forces immediately retaliated by firing at him. He was hit by a bullet in his leg, the police officer said.
Khalid took refuge in a newly-built one-storey house nearby, but the government forces followed his blood stains and located him.
After a brief while, more government troops came to the village and cordoned off the entire area. A brief gunfight ensued, in which Khalid was killed. After his body was taken into possession, the cordon was not lifted; instead, the house in which he took refuge was blasted with IEDs. The cordon was lifted only after the government forces made sure that there was no other militant hiding in the area.
Not much was known about this JeM commander, whose code name was Khalid. He was believed to have entered Kashmir from across the Line of Control and was active in north Kashmir’s Sopore area since last year. Khalid was believed to have had a hand behind the suicide attack on Puwlama District Police Lines a couple of months ago, an attack that killed four CRPF men and four policemen.
His name had cropped up for the first time in October 2016 when the army busted a JeM module in Baramulla. Police officials had then said that the module, headed by Khalid, was responsible for the attack on an army convoy in Baramulla in August that year, which killed two army men and one cop.
Sopore Superintendent of Police Harmeet Singh told Kashmir Reader that a specific input had been received by the Sopore police at about 11:15am regarding the movement of the JeM chief operational commande in village Ladoora, Rafiabad. Acting on the input, the Sopore police launched an operation and intercepted the militant, upon which the police party was fired upon and a grenade was also lobbed at them. Khalid then took refuge in a nearby residential house.
A pistol and grenades were recovered from his possession. The killed militant was an A++ category militant and police said he was involved in various attacks in Kupwara, Baramulla, Handwara and Sopore districts, including killings of civilians and attacks on police/security forces over the last many years, police said. He was also involved in various fidayeen attacks in Kashmir, it added.
After the gunfight, the North Kashmir DIG, VK Birdi, held a press conference in which he termed Khalid’s killing a “big success” for the J&K Police.