Sopore: A top militant commander and chief of Al-Badr outfit for north Kashmir, Gani Khwaja alias ‘Sikandar’, was killed in an encounter in Sopore on Tuesday evening, police said.
A gunfight broke out between government forces and militants in Tujar-Sharif village of Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Tuesday evening, after government forces including police, army’s 22RR, and paramilitary CRPF cordoned off Tujar Sharif village in police district Sopore, police said.
As government forces reached near the suspected spot, the militants opened fire, and a gunfight ensued, police said, adding that in the initial firing, the militants tried to break the cordon, during which one militant was killed.
Locals said that they heard the sound of heavy firing in the area, and saw the armed forces rushing towards a particular spot.
The police later identified the slain militant as chief commander of Al-Badr, Gani Khwaja, who was a most-wanted militant and one of the last surviving militants in north Kashmir. Police called it a big achievement for the forces.
Abdul Gani Khwaja, son of Mukhtar Ahmad Khwaja, code name ‘Sikandar’ and locally known as ‘Gani Khwaja’, was a resident of Kralgund area of Handwara. He joined the militant ranks in 2018 with Hizbul Mujahideen and later became chief commander of Al-Badr.
A senior police officer said that the operation is still on and search for other militants is going on in the area. “One militant has been killed in the firing and search for others is on,” the officer said.