Top commander among 3 militants killed in Tral encounter

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Srinagar: Three Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militants, including a self styled top commander, were killed by security forces in an encounter in south Kashmir district of Pulwama on Wednesday.

Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh said that following specific information about presence of militants, troops of Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Special Operation Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir police and CRPF laid an ambush in open field at Kanjibal, Tral, in Pulwama in the wee hours today.

He said at 0100 hrs ambush party noticed a group of militants approaching the area. However, when challenged and asked to surrender, militants resorted to indiscriminate firing with automatic weapons.

He said security forces retaliated and in the brief encounter three militants were killed. “The slain HM militants were identified as Jehangir Rafiq Wani, a commander, Omar Maqbool both locals and Sadaat Ahmad Thokar,” he said in a press conference here on Wednesday.

The DGP said huge cache of arms and ammunition was recovered from the encounter site, which included two AK rifles, a pistol and two grenades. “Wani and Maqbool were involved in at least eight ‘terror crimes’, including killing of two civilians — Mehraj-u-din-Zargar and Ghulam Nabi Mir, residents of Tral,” he said.

He said the duo was also involved in incidents of arson including a firing incident at a mosque and burning of a chemist shop and a truck post abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35 A on August 5. “The duo also used to post threatening posters in south Kashmir,” he said.

Mr Singh said Wani also carried out several attacks on police and Army in south Kashmir. Similarly, he said Thokar was also involved in many militant related activities after joining militant ranks.