Top terror commander among 5 killed in Kashmir gunfight (Ld)

A top commander of the proscribed terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and a Pakistani national were among the five terrorists killed in two separate encounters in Kashmir’s Budgam and Pulwama districts in a span of 12 hours, officials said on Sunday.

Four JeM terrorists were killed in a gunfight with the security forces in Pulwama’s Naira area, while one Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist was killed in another encounter in Budgam’s Chrar-i-sharief area.

The terrorists killed in the encounter have been identified as — Zahid Wani resident of Karimabad, Waheed Ah Reshi from Khadarmuh, and Inayaitullah Mir from Nyira.

The Pakistani terrorist has been identified as Kafir alias Chotu. He was active in the area since 2020.

Zahid Wani was one of the main commanders of the JeM outfit after Lamboo and Sameer Dar, who were masterminds of the 2019 Pulwama attack, security forces said in a statement.

“This module was directly controlled from across with the support of Sakargargh and Kotli camps under the direct supervision of Qari Zarar and Mulana Rouf Azhar (brother of Massod Azhar). Pakistan is continuously trying to push these elements to India from across,” the statement said.

Zahid was originally a staunch overground worker (OGW) of the Tehri-ul-Mujahideen (TuM) outfit. He was arrested in 2016 in Srinagar in connection with harbouring two TuM terrorists, namely Danish and Mugeez belonging to Srinagar’s Parimpora police station area. He had arranged camouflage gear for these two terrorists back then. He was an extreme radical and a hard core jihadi.

Zahid was one of the oldest surviving JeM terrorists and top Commander in South Kashmir after the killing of Lamboo and Sameer Dar.

He was active since 2017 and was responsible for large-scale recruitment of terrorists in South Kashmir.

His elimination will now surely disorient the remaining JeM terrorists operating in the valley since Zahid used to give them planning and leadership. Also, local recruitment in JeM may see a drop in forthcoming days.

Meanwhile, the weapons that were recovered from the slain terrorists included one M4 with night vision sight, two AK Series weapons, two pistols and 12 grenades.

“Five terrorists of Pakistan sponsored proscribed terror outfits LeT and JeM killed in dual encounters in last 12 hours. JeM commander terrorist Zahid Wani and a Pakistani terrorist among the killed. Big success for us,” said the Jammu and Kashmir Police in an earlier statement quoting Inspector General Police Kashmir zone Vijay Kumar.

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