Pak Jaish commander among two ultras killed in Kashmir

Slain jaish commander from Pakistan (DH Photo)

Two militants, including a top Jaish-e-Mohammad commander from Pakistan, were killed in a pre-dawn encounter with security forces in Bonbazar area of volatile Shopian district in south Kashmir on Saturday.
 
The gunfight erupted after a joint team of Army's 23 Para and special operations group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir police launched a cordon-and-search-operation (CASO) in Bonbazaar, Shopian, 55 km from here, after ‘specific information’ about the presence of militants in the area.
 
“As the joint team of forces zeroed in on the suspected spot, the hiding militants fired upon which was retaliated by the security triggering an encounter,” sources said and added in the exchange of fire two militants were killed.
 
A police spokesperson said Munna Lahori, a Pakistani national, was one among the slain militants, who was responsible for a series of civilian killings in Kashmir.
 
The second militant, an associate of Lahori, was a local militant, he said. Lahori, also known as Bihari, had been used by Pakistan-based Jaish outfit for the recruitment of militants and was known for making Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). 
 
Since the beginning of annual Amarnathji Yatra on July 1, the anti-militancy operations in the Valley have been apparently halted to facilitate the smooth and peaceful pilgrimage. Barring a few anti-militancy operations – two in south Kashmir’s Shopain district and another in northern Sopore area in which two militants were killed – there has been a decline in anti-insurgency operations.
 
A senior police officer said that the focus of the security forces since last one month has been to ensure the safety of yatries. “Anti-militant operations have not been halted, but till the end of yatra, only specific operations will be carried out,” he said.
 
Despite the killing of over 130 militants and less infiltration from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir this year so far, around 270 ultras are still active in the valley. 
 
Another feature of anti-militancy operations this year has been the least civilian causalities during the encounters. “The strategy to conduct pre-dawn anti-militancy operations has worked well. And with the help of increased human intelligence it was decided to launch pre-dawn operations due to which civilians, who earlier used to disrupt the operations, get least time to react,” security experts say.

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