Majid Jahangir/Suhail A Shah
A top Jaish-e-Mohammad commander, who was involved in configuring the IED-laden car and planning the last week's bombing that was foiled by the forces, was among the three militants killed in a gunfight in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Wednesday, police said.
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, said Jaish commander Abdul Rehman alias Fauji Bhai of Multan in Pakistan, who was active since 2017, was killed in the gunfight along with two other militants in Pulwama.
“He was involved in a lot of incidents and was an IED expert. He had a major role in making and planning the last week’s car bombing that was foiled by the forces,” Kumar said at a media briefing in Srinagar. “He also participated in the Afghan war.”
Last week, security forces had averted a car bomb attack in Pulwama district when they intercepted a car with 40-45 kg explosives at Rajpora. The plan had similarities with last year’s bombing at Lethpora in which over 40 CRPF jawans were killed after a suicide bomber drove a car full of explosives into a convoy.
Kumar said killing of the Pakistani militant commander was one of the biggest achievements for the forces this year.
The operation was launched on “specific police input” on Wednesday morning in the Kangan area of Pulwama.
A senior police official from Pulwama said a cordon and search operation was launched in the Astan Mohalla of Kangan in the wee hours of Wednesday following inputs about militants’ presence in the area.
“The house in which militants were holed up was zeroed in on and the militants were offered to surrender. They however chose to fire and were neutralised in the ensuing gunfight,” said the official.
He said the bodies of the militants along with arms and ammunition were retrieved from the site of the gunfight. “They will be taken for burial after completion of medico-legal formalities,” the official added.
While Kumar said the identities of other two militants were being ascertained, police sources told The Tribune that they were locals named Javed Zargar of Rangmulla and Manzoor Kar of Sirnoo, in Pulwama district.
The IGP, meanwhile, informed that 75 militants, “most of them commanders”, had been killed this year so far.
“There are two more IED experts of the JEM still active in Kashmir. They have been identified as Waleed Bhai and Lambu Bhai,” Kumar said, adding that the security forces have also managed to get the identity of the present JeM chief.
He said the chief was named Abdullah Rashid Ghazi and was active in the Khrew area of Pulwama district. “He will be killed or nabbed soon,” said Kumar.
Kumar further said the outfit usually does not give out the name of its head and it was because of the source base of security forces that Ghazi’s name came to the fore.
Meanwhile, the authorities snapped mobile Internet services across Pulwama district soon after the gunfight commenced and kept them suspended for the day as a precautionary measure.
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