SRINAGAR: A top Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist of Pakistani origin, who was responsible for gunning down Army Major Satish Dhayia, was among two militants killed in an encounter in the apple town of Sopore in North Kashmir early Wednesday, police said.
With these deaths, the number of ultras killed in the past 12 days in Kashmir has gone up to 18, they said.
Abu Maaz, who had been active since 2015, was killed, along with Abdul Majeed alias 'Sameer', a resident of Bomai in Sopore, they said.
Giving details, the police said during the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday a joint search operation was launched with para-military forces and army following a credible intelligence input about the presence of terrorists in the Nowpora area of Tujjer in Sopore.
"During the searches, hiding terrorists fired on the search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter. In the ensuing encounter, two terrorists were eliminated," a police spokesman said.
"On the basis of materials recovered, one of the slain terrorists has been identified as Abu Maaz of Pakistani origin who had been operating as the top commander of LeT in north Kashmir," the spokesman said.
The spokesman said Maaz was involved in a series of attacks on security forces and killings of civilians.
He was active in North Kashmir, particularly Sopore and Handwara.
Maaz had masterminded an attack on an Army convoy in Handwara in February last year, in which 31-year-old Major Satish Dhaiya was killed.
Three terrorists -- Abu Saad, Abu Maviya and Abu Darda -- were killed in that encounter, but Abu Maaz had managed to escape after gunning down the Army Major.
Since then, he was among the most wanted terrorists in North Kashmir.
With these two deaths, the number of militants killed in the past 12 days in Kashmir has gone up to 18.
Five militants each were killed in Kulgam district of South Kashmir and Bandipore in North Kashmir during this period.
Another five terrorist were gunned down in Tangdhar of North Kashmir and one was killed at Tral in Awantipura of South Kashmir.