LeT’s Naveed Jatt, accused in Bukhari murder, killed

Naveed Jatt. PTI file photo

In a major blow to Lashker-e-Toiba, security forces on Wednesday killed its senior commander Naveed Jatt, who was allegedly involved in the killing of veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari on June 14. 

A senior police officer while confirming the killing of Jatt said, another local militant was also slain in the gunfight that erupted in the early hours of Wednesday in Chatergul area of central Budgam district.

He said three army men were also injured in the gunfight, and they have been shifted to army base hospital in Srinagar.

Jatt, a Pakistani, had escaped from police custody on February 6 following a brief shootout at SMHS hospital in Srinagar, in which two policemen were killed.

Bukhari was shot dead outside his office in Press Enclave here along with his two personal security officers (PSOs) by three gunmen on a bike, as seen on security footage carrying weapons in a sack.

The police had blamed Jatt along with two local militants, including Azad Malik alias Dada, for killing Bukhari. Malik was killed in an encounter with security forces in southern Shopian district on November 23.

A month after his escape, a video had surfaced showing Jatt with militants in a forest area of south Kashmir. Armed with an automatic rifle, Jatt was seen in the video exchanging hugs with a group of militants.

Jatt, according to police records, was one of the longest surviving LeT militants, and had arrived in Kashmir more than six years ago. Before his arrest in June 2014, Jatt had served as a close associate of the LeT’s slain commander Abu Qasim and remained active in south Kashmir.

This was the sixth anti-militancy operation in Kashmir since last week. So far, 21 militants, including senior commanders of LeT and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, and three soldiers have been killed in these encounters.

On Tuesday, two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants and an army soldier were killed in a gunfight in southern Kulgam district. A top commander from Zakir Musa-led Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind outfit, an al-Qaeeda affiliate, was killed in a gunfight with forces in Reshipora village of Tral in Pulwama on the same day.

On Sunday, six militants, including Abass Sheikh, involved in the killing of a young army officer, Lt Omar Fayaz, and a soldier were killed in a fierce encounter in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

On Friday, six militants were killed in southern Anantnag district. Before that, four Hizbul militants and a paratrooper from the Army were killed in an encounter at Nadigam village of Shopian.

More than 210 militants have been killed in Kashmir this year, and 217 in 2017 - highest in the last nine years. However, despite increase in encounters and militant killings, Army maintains that recruitment of local youth into militancy has seen a decline in Kashmir during the recent months.

 

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LeT’s Naveed Jatt, accused in Bukhari murder, killed

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