LeT commander among three militants killed in Sopore

Sopore: A top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander was among three militants killed in a nocturnal gunfight in north Kashmir’s Sopore on Monday.
Police said that police, army and CRPF laid a cordon and search operation on a specific input about the presence of militants in Gund Brath village on Sopore outskirts at about 10 pm on Sunday.
It said that as soon as government forces reached near the suspected spot, militants fired upon forces, ensuing into a firefight which continued till morning.
Locals said that they heard sound of firing and blasts and saw dozens of bullet proof vehicles rushing towards the area all through the night. All entry and exit points to the village were sealed by forces to prevent militants from fleeing the area.
The guns fell silent in the morning after the killing of three militants.
Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh said all the three slain militants were top commanders of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). They were identified as LeT commander Mudasir Ahmad Pandith of Dangerpora Sopore, Khursheed Ahmad Mir of Brath Kalan and a Pakistani militant Abdullah alias Asrar.
The operation was very important for the police and other security forces as the militants were involved in several attacks and killings, he added.
These include two major attacks in Sopore — one on March 29 in which two municipal councillors and a policeman were killed and another on June 12 in which two policemen and an equal number of civilians were killed.
“The operation was very important for the police and security forces. In the encounter, three dreaded militant commanders, who were active for a long time and were involved in several terror crimes, were killed,” Singh told reporters at a press conference here.
Inspector general of police (IGP), Kashmir Vijay Kumar said the slain militants were hiding in a house that belonged to the family of another militant.
“I urge the militant families not to give shelter to active militants. Then they blame the police for misbehaving with them…. The families of militants should refrain from providing food and shelter to active militants,” he said.
Kumar said there was a huge support from the locals in tracking the militants.
“We had circulated posters with the images of all three wanted militant commanders. The police tracked them down to their exact location, but the locals supported us. I thank the locals for the huge support,” he said.
General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the Army’s Kilo Force Major General H S Sahi said a soldier was injured in the operation and he was evacuated to a hospital where his condition is stated to be stable.
He said this was the second such instance in the valley in recent times where local militants were found to be accompanied by Pakistani militant.
“This is a big network nexus that exists, which is a cause of concern. This nexus needs to be broken and destroyed so that there is no hurdle in the peace and development of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
He appealed to the civil society and the people of Kashmir to cooperate with the security forces to break this network.
“This network wants to continue the cycle of violence. We have been saying that this cycle of violence needs to be destroyed,” he said, adding that the support to this network should stop so that the lives of innocent Kashmiris are saved.
Sahi also appealed to the local militants to give up their arms and join the national mainstream.
“If they do not, then I assure you that they will meet the similar fate as that of the slain militants in the Sopore gunfight,” he said.
With inputs from PTI

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