STATE TIMES NEWS
Srinagar/JAMMU: Three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists, including one of the youngest ultras in Kashmir, were killed in an 18-hour gunfight with security forces on the outskirts of Srinagar while an Army jawan and three civilians were injured and a wanted Hizbul terrorist has been arrested in Kishtwar, police said on Sunday.
“A search operation was launched on Saturday jointly by the police and the security forces, based on a credible input about the presence of terrorists in the Mujgund area on the Bandipora road,” he added.
During the operation, the search party was fired upon by the terrorists who were hiding, the police spokesperson said.
The fire was retaliated, leading to a gunfight, he added.
“In the initial exchange of fire, one Army jawan was injured, who is admitted to a hospital. Three civilians also sustained injuries as the area was open and they were shifted to a hospital. They are stated to be stable,” the spokesperson said.
Three terrorists were killed in the counter and their bodies were retrieved from the site, he added.
The slain terrorists were identified as Mudasir Rashid Parray and Saqib Bilal Sheikh — both residents of the Hajin area in Bandipora district — and from the evidence collected, one terrorist was learnt to be a Pakistani, identified as Ali, the spokesperson said.
“The three terrorists were affiliated to proscribed terror outfit LeT,” he added.
Parray was reportedly 14 years of age and one of the youngest terrorists killed in the valley. His gun-wielding picture had surfaced on the social media earlier this week, after he had gone missing from his house in August.
However, the police said Parray’s age could not be confirmed.
“We do not know if he was 14 or 16, though he looked young. There is no way to confirm whether he was the youngest terrorist ever or not,” a senior police official said.
A huge quantity of arms and ammunition, including rifles, was recovered from the encounter site, the police spokesperson said.
“All those materials have been taken in the case records for further investigation and probing the slain terrorists’ complicity in other terror cases,” he added.
The slain terrorists were wanted by the law for “their complicity in terror crimes”, he said.
“Ali, according to police records, was involved in several terror crimes and cases were registered against him, including for attacks on security establishments and civilian atrocities. He was involved in the recruitment of ultras in the Hajin and Sumbal areas of Bandipora,” the police spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, clashes between groups of youngsters and security forces took place in the area during the day, a police official said.
He added that the security personnel fired tear gas shells and pellets to disperse the protesters.
The authorities had suspended mobile internet services in the city as a precautionary measure on Sunday morning. The services were, however, restored in the evening after the operation was concluded, the official said.
Meanwhile, a wanted Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, who was luring youths into terrorism, was arrested in Kishtwar district, a senior police officer said.
Reyaz Ahmad, a resident of Sounder Dachhan village and a close associate of hardcore terrorist Mohammad Amin alias ‘Jehangir’, was arrested by a police party based on specific information from the town, Senior Superintendent of Police, Kishtwar, Rajinder Gupta said. He was wanted in case FIR No. 182/2018 under Section 120-B,121,121-A RPC 7/27 I.A Act, 4/5 Exp Act 3/13/U(P)A of Police Station Kishtwar.
He said several pictures of Ahmad holding an AK assault rifle had gone viral on social media in the recent past and his name also surfaced during interrogation of two of his associates who were arrested in the town on July 1.
Following the arrest of his two associates, a case was registered at the Kishtwar police station.
The officer said Ahmad was also involved in another case related to terrorism in the Parimpora locality of Srinagar.
Some more arrests and recoveries are expected at his disclosure, the officer said, adding he was a hardcore motivator encouraging local youth to join militancy .
Jehangir is the longest surviving terrorist active in the Kishtwar belt, he said.
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