SRINAGAR: Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants, including a self-styled commander of the outfit, were killed in an encounter with security forces in the Tral area of Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir, police said on Wednesday.
Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Tral late Tuesday night following information about the presence of militants there, they said.
Police said that during searches, an encounter broke out between militants and security forces. "Three Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists were killed in an operation in the Tral area," Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh told reporters here.
Singh said the slain militants have been identified as Jehangir Ahmad Wani, who had taken over the command of the outfit in the area after the killing of Hammad, Raja Umer Maqbool and Sadaat Ahmad Thokar.
He said that arms and ammunition was recovered from the encounter site which included two AK rifles, a pistol and two grenades. The DGP said that twenty-three terrorists have been eliminated in various encounters since last month.
He said that Wani and Maqbool were involved in several "terror crimes", including killing of two civilians. "They were also involved in incidents of arson including a firing incident at a mosque and burning of a shop and a truck," Singh said.
He said that while 19 militants have been killed in eight operations in Kashmir, four were killed in two operations in the Jammu region since January this year. "So far, we have had 10 successful operations in Jammu and Kashmir in 2020 in which 23 terrorists have been eliminated," the DGP said.
"Besides, we have also arrested 40 overground workers who were involved in grenade throwing incidents or facilitating the terrorists in the valley," he added. Singh said it was heartening that eight youths, who had left homes to join militant ranks, have been reunited with their families after realising the futility of their decision.
"We have ensured that there is no collateral damage during the operations. The fresh recruitment into terrorist ranks is next to nil. The life in Kashmir is normal and police will make all efforts to contribute in keeping it that way," he added.