SRINAGAR: In a major breakthrough, security forces on Monday killed chief operational commander of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad Khalid during a gunfight in Sopore area of north Kashmir while an army subedar and a Hizbul Mujahideen militant were killed in two separate gunfights in central and south Kashmir.
A police official said acting on a specific input about movement of Jaish chief operational commander Khalid alias Shahid Showkat, a naka was laid by security forces at Woveri Mohalla Ladoora, Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district today.
He said the militant fired upon the naka party when signalled to stop.
“The fire was returned by the troops and in the gunfight, the militant got injured. He, however, escaped from the spot and entered into a residential house,” the official said.
The security forces laid siege around the area and zeroed-in on the house, where the militant was hiding.
“The militant fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated and in the ensuing encounter, the Jaish operational chief commander was killed,” the official said.
He termed Khalid’s killing as a major jolt to Jaish and militancy in the State.
The police official said Khalid was involved in many attacks on security forces and was the mastermind of at least three suicide attacks on security force camps in the Valley since last year.
“He was also involved in fidayeen attack on army camp at Khwajabagh, Baramulla last year. Besides, he was the mastermind of suicide attacks carried out by JeM militants at District Pulwama Lines (DPL) Pulwama last month and October 3 attack on BSF camp near heavily guarded Srinagar airport,” he said.
Eight security personnel were killed in fidayeen attack on DPL Pulwama while a BSF officer was killed and three border guards injured in attack on BSF camp near Srinagar airport.
The police official said Khalid was A++ militant and carried a bounty of Rs 7 lakhs.
“He was one of the most wanted militants and security forces had been hunting for him. He had escaped many security forces operation but ran out of luck today,” he said.
According to the official, Khalid was constantly exploring opportunities to kill security personnel and attack security establishments in the state.
“He was motivating youth and poor boys to join Jaish for execution of grenade attacks against monetary benefits,” he said.
Khalid, according to police, was active in the Valley since last seven years.
Meanwhile, militants attacked a patrol party of army at Drang village of Khag in central Kashmir’s Budgam district last night.
Defence spokesman, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, said Subedar Raj Kumar sustained bullet injuries in the militant firing.
“He was evacuated to army hospital in Srinagar, where he succumbed to injuries,” he said.
Kumar, 47, had joined army in 1990 and hailed from village Khanni in Himachal Pradesh. He is survived by wife Toshi Devi and two sons.
Meanwhile, police, CRPF and army men launched a cordon and search operation (CASO) operation at village Gatipora in south Kashmir’s Shopian district this evening after receiving information about presence of three militants there.
A police official said as troops were conducting search operation, they came under fire from militants hiding in the village.
“The fire was returned by the troops and in the ensuing gunfight, a Hizb militant was killed,” he said.
He said the gunfight is going on.