JeM’s ‘most wanted’ militant killed in Khrew gunfight

Srinagar: The militant, who was killed in a gunfight with security forces in Pulwama’s Khrew on Wednesday, was identified as a Pakistani national affiliated with Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit, a senior police officer said on Friday, adding the militant operated in south Kashmir under code names “Abu Saifullah” and “Abu Qasim”.
The officer said the slain militant was wanted in connection with the abduction and killing of two civilians and threatening special police officers (SPOs) and non-local labourers to leave the Valley.
A close associate of JeM chief commander Qari Yasir of Pakistan, who was killed in an encounter with security forces in Kupwara district in July 2013, Abu Saifullah was trapped along with his local associate during a search and cordon operation at Zaintrag village in the Awantipora area of Pulwama on Tuesday morning, he said.
The operation, which was launched on specific information, turned into a gunfight when the hiding militants opened fire on the joint search parties of police, 50 Rashtriya Rifles and 185 Battalion of the CRPF, the officer said.
The heavy firing by the militants resulted in grievous bullet injuries to Sepoy Rahul Ranswal of the Rashtriya Rifles and SPO Shahbaz Ahmad of police, who were evacuated to the Army’s 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar but both succumbed to injuries there, he said.
During the process of evacuation of the injured soldiers, the mnilitants fled the cordon area, the officer said, adding they were tracked down in the forest area of Nagander village, which is about one Kilometer away from the encounter site of Zantrag, next day resulting in a fresh encounter. The “most wanted” militant, Abu Saifullah, was killed there.
However, his other associate managed to escape and a hunt is on to neutralise him, the officer said.
“Abu Saifullah has been active in Tral and the Khrew area of Awantipora for more than one-and-a-half years and was a close associate of slain JeM chief Qari Yasir. He was involved in the abduction and killing of two civilians – Abdul Qadeer Kohli and Manzoor Ahmad Kohli – and injuring a shopkeeper, Naseer Ahmad Ganie, last year,” he said.
Saifullah was also wanted in a case related to pasting of posters wherein the SPOs were threatened to leave their jobs and non-local labourers were asked to leave the valley, the officer said. PTI

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