JeM chief, 2 associates killed in Awantipora

Army, Police and CRPF officers at a joint press conference in Srinagar. -Excelsior/Shakeel
Army, Police and CRPF officers at a joint press conference in Srinagar. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Major attack averted on R-Day

Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar, Jan 25: The chief commander of Jaish-e-Mohamamd, along with his two associates were killed in gun battle in Awantipora area of Pulwama district today. Army and police said that by eliminating them, security forces have averted a major strike they were planning on January 26.
JeM chief commander, Qari Yasir, a Pakistani, was killed at Hariparigam village of Tral after a day-long encounter with security forces today. His other two associates- Pakistani resident Moosa alias Abu Usman and Burhanudin Sheikh of Tral were also killed in the gunfight.

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Addressing a news conference at Badami Bagh Cantonment here, 15 Corps Commander General KJS Dhillon said that for the last four to five days, a Jaish module mostly foreigners was active and was planning to do something sensational on the eve of Republic day 2020. “This module includes one militant identified as Saifullah, who was killed in Khrew area of Pulwama recently,” he said.
The Army Commander said that this morning, an operation was launched following the information about some militants of JeM, who were planning to carry out their activities on January 26. “The module of JeM, comprising Pakistani militants was on radar for few days. Today’s operation is still going on as we speak,” he said.
Dhillon said that in today’s operation, three security forces personnel were also injured and are undergoing treatment at Army base hospital. “I want to tell this that a major incident on January 26 has been averted. Today’s operation was based on hard and actual intelligence,” he added.
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, told reporters that a JeM module busted in Srinagar recently provided a vital lead for the operation. “We came to know about JeM militant Burhan who was active in South Kashmir from the Jaish module arrested in Srinagar few days ago. We worked on that lead and yesterday evening Awantipore police generated the specific intelligence input about presence of the three militants in a village in Hariparigam where Qari Yasir was also present. A cordon was launched and three militants were neutralized”, he said.
“As per our intelligence, Qari Yasir was the self styled chief of JeM in Kashmir. He was involved in last year’s February 14 attack at Lethpora. He was an IED expert and would recruit and relocate militants coming from Pakistan. He had a supervisory role in February 14 blast. We were also getting information from sister agencies and their names were also cropping up about a bigger attack or IED blast on Republic day eve,” Kumar said.
The encounter comes just a day after an anti militancy operation ended after three days on Thursday at nearby Khrew area of the district in which an army jawan, a special police officer and a foreign militant of Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit were killed.
He said that one of the injured soldiers from 3 Rashtriya Rifles has received critical injuries.
Earlier on Monday, three local Hizbul Mujahideen militants, including a commander and a former cop involved in a major weapons’ heist in 2018, were killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
Last week, a local HM militant was killed in an encounter with security forces in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on January 14.
Earlier on January 12, three HM militants were killed in a gun battle with security forces in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. One of the slain militants was a so-called commander, Umer Fayaz Lone alias Hamad Khan, a resident of Tral in south Kashmir.
In the first encounter of 2020 in Kashmir a local militant was killed in an encounter with security forces in Awantipora on January 7. Shahid Ahmad, believed to be in his late teens, was killed in Chursi area of south Kashmir’s Awantipora in a brief shootout with the security forces.
In the meantime, Bandipora Police arrested seven Over Ground Workers (OGW’s) of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfits in the district.
Police said that during a cordon and search operation by joint team of Army’s 13 RR and Bandipora Police at different areas of Bandipora like SK Bala, Hajjin, Chanpora Nadihal and Sumlar areas, seven Over Ground Workers (OGWs) were apprehended.
He said that 2 pistols , 2 UBGL thrower, 6 UBGL Magazines, 10 AK 47 Magazines , 512 AK 47 rounds and 2 bore sets were recovered from their procession.
A case under FIR number 04/20120 and various section of UAP Act has been registered in Police Station Bandipora and investigation is going on.