SRINAGAR: Police on Wednesday confirmed that the Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar's nephew Usman Hyder and his associate killed in a gunfight in south Kashmir's Tral area were members of sniper squad and the slain Pakistani militant was deputy chief of the squad, which had carried out fire sniper attacks on security forces last week.
A police official identified the two Jaish militants killed in over five hours long gunfight with security forces in Tral area of volatile south Kashmir on Tuesday as Mohammad Usman Hyder, a Pakistani militant and Showkat Ahmad Khan, a local. Usman, he said, was nephew of Jaish chief Masood Azhar and had infiltrated into the State about a year back.
"Both the deceased militants were involved in recent sniper attacks on security forces from a distance," he said.Two army men and a CISF Assistant Sub Inspector were killed and another soldier injured in three sniper attacks by Jaish militants on security personnel inside the security camps in south Kashmir and outskirts of Srinagar last week.Terming the killing of Usman as a major jolt to Jaish and its "sniper squad", the official said it has emerged that he was the deputy chief of the outfit's "sniper squad" and had participated in the recent sniper attacks on security forces after maintaining low profile in south Kashmir, where he was hiding.
"He (Usman) had cleverly maintained very low profile during his hiding in south Kashmir and was not even in radar of security forces. However, he came under security forces radar after last week's sniper attacks on security forces and was killed in the gunfight," he said.The official said US-made M4 carbine rifle, which is used by American troops and special forces of Pakistan, was recovered from the encounter site."It clearly proves that the two slain militants were part of sniper squad," he said.
The official said security forces have launched massive manhunt for some more Jaish militants, who are members of "sniper squad" and trained in handling and use of sniper rifle fitted with night vision equipment."We have got intelligence inputs that some more M4 carbine rifles are available with the militants and adequate security measures have been taken to tackle the threat of sniper attacks," he added.