Top JeM commander among 3 militants killed in Pulwama encounter

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Srinagar: Top Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) commander, a Pakistani national and an IED expert was among three militants killed in an encounter which ensued after security forces launched a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) in south Kashmir district of Pulwama on Wednesday.
With this, five militants have been killed during the last 24 hours in two separate encounters in Pulwama, where internet services remained suspended since Tuesday for security reasons.
Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Vijay Kumar termed the killing of JeM commander, identified as Abdul Rehman alias Foji Bhai, a resident of Multan in Pakistan, as one the biggest achievement for security forces this year.
“Foji Bhai was involved in planting an IED in a vehicle, which was recently detected and defused by security forces in Pulwama. The top commander was planning to carry out a major attack on security forces. With his death that threat has been averted,” Mr Kumar said in a press conference here on Wednesday.
“After the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Riyaz Naikoo, neutralizing Foji Bhai is the second biggest achievement for security forces this year,” he said.
He said Foji Bhai, who has been active in south Kashmir since 2017, has also participated in action in Afghanistan.
He said the other militants killed in the gunfight could be locals. “We have asked the potential parents of these militants to come to Police Control Room (PCR) and identify them. If they identify the militants, then they can participate in the burial in Baramulla,” he said.
“Even if the other two militants were not identified, they would be buried in Baramulla. The DNA and postmortem of the militants are being conducted,” he added.
Giving details about the operation, he said that following specific information about the presence of militants, a joint CASO was launched by Special Operations Group (SOG) of J&K police, Army and CRPF in Kangan area in Pulwama early on Wednesday morning.
He said all the exit point were sealed, adding when security forces were moving towards the target house, militants hiding there, fired at them with automatic weapons. “The security forces retaliated ensuing in an encounter,” he said.
The IGP said three JeM militants were killed in the encounter. “Incriminating materials, including arms and ammunition, were recovered from the encounter site,” they added.
Answering a question whether, with the killing of the top commander the threat of IED attack is over, the IGP said two more JeM militants are expert in IED making. “Wahid Bahi is also an IED expert and is active in Kulgam. Then there is another Pakistani militant, knows as Labmu Bhai, who is also an expert of IED making,” he said.
About whether Fauji Bhai was part of the Pulwama IED attack that leftover 44 CRPF jawans dead, he said that it was not confirmed if he took part in that attack. However, he said the top commander was active in Pulwama at that time.
On Tuesday, two militants were killed by security forces in an encounter with security forces at village Soimoh, Tral, in Pulwama, following which internet services were suspended.