Top Jaish militant among 2 militants killed in Sopore gun battle

Srinagar, Apr 26 (UNI) Security forces shot dead two militants during an operation in Jammu and Kashmir’s Sopore sub-district on Friday, police said.

Two soldiers and a civilian were also injured during the encounter, officials said.

While there is no official word on the identity or affiliation of the two militants killed in the gunfight, sources said one of the slain militants is a top Pakistani commander of Jaish-e-Mohammad known by the code name of Abu Maaz.

“ Maaz, a foreign terrorist was active in north Kashmir for the last few years and is categorized as A plus plus militant,” sources said, adding that his killing is a major setback to the terror network in north Kashmir.

The other slain is also suspected to be a foreign terrorist with the code name of Faraz alias Saifulla. He is also a categorized militant.

The encounter between militants and forces in Sopore, an erstwhile militant hotbed, broke out Thursday evening.

Police said, acting on a specific intelligence input, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by them along with the Army’s 22 Rashtriya Rifles, and Central Reserve Police Force’s 179 battalion in the Check Mohalla Nowpora in Sopore on Thursday evening.

“During the search operation, the joint team encountered indiscriminate firing from the hiding terrorists. The security forces retaliated, leading to an encounter. In the ensuing exchange that continued throughout the night, two terrorists were neutralized this morning,” Inspector General of Police Kashmir Vidhi Kumar Birdi told reporters in Sopore.

Birdi said incriminating materials, arms, and ammunition were recovered from the encounter site.

In the wake of the operation, the authorities suspended class work in various educational institutions in Sopore on Friday.

Additional Deputy Commissioner, Sopore Shabir Ahmad Raina, said as a precautionary measure, class work in all schools and colleges was suspended for Friday in the entire Tehsil.

This was the second gun battle since Wednesday in Kashmir. Militants and security forces on Wednesday morning exchanged fire for a brief period in the Bandipora district of north Kashmir leaving two soldiers wounded.

The massive combing operation to trace the militants in the forest area of Bandipora continues on Friday. Security forces are also using drones and helicopters for surveillance of the dense forest area.

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