SRINAGAR: Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)s Kashmir chief and Pakistani terrorist, Qari Yasir, and two of his associates were killed in an anti-insurgency operation in Tral of Awantipora, in south Kashmirs Pulwama district, on Saturday, 15 Corps commander Lt Gen KJS Dhillon said. An equal number of soldiers were also injured in the encounter, the second one in Awantipora this week.
The other slain terrorists were identified as Moosa alias Abu Usmaan from Pakistan, and Burhanuddin Sheikh from Tral. With the killings, a major tragedy has been averted as according to intelligence inputs, the terrorists were planning to strike on Sunday, on the occasion of Republic Day, Lt Gen Dhillon said while addressing a press conference at Badami Bagh Cantonment.
“Yasir, the JeM chief in Kashmir, was the mastermind of the Pulwama attack on February 14, 2019, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. He was an IED expert, involved in recruiting terrorists and relocating them, besides coordinating with infiltrators from Pakistan,” IG Kashmir Vijay Kumar said.
The operation was launched based on intelligence inputs about a JeM module, consisting of mostly Pakistani infiltrators, carrying out “an even bigger IED attack in or around Srinagar on R-Day eve,” said IG Kumar. “The module was under the radar for the last four-five days. The operation is still underway as we speak,” IG Kumar said, adding that a “major incident has been averted”.
“The Jaish module was arrested in Srinagar. After interrogating them, we learnt of JeMs Burhanuddin, who was active in south Kashmir and was part of the terror planning on January 26. We worked on that lead and Awantipora Police, on Friday evening, generated a specific input about the presence of three terrorists in the area, Yasir being one of them,” Kumar said.
A joint team of Army, J&K Police and CRPF launched a cordon-and-search operation in Trals Hariparigam area on Saturday. The holed-up terrorists opened fire at the security forces, triggering an encounter in which three terrorists were killed and an equal number of soldiers injured. The injured personnel are under treatment at the Army base hospital, IG Kumar said.
Meanwhile, J&K Police on Saturday confirmed arresting seven overground workers (OGW) affiliated to Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen in north Kashmirs Bandipora district. The OGWs were involved in providing logistic support and assistance to active terrorists of the proscribed outfits, operating in the district. Incriminating evidence has been recovered from them. A case has been registered to probe their complicity in terror crimes, said a police spokesperson.
This is the second encounter in Awantipora this week. On Wednesday, security forces had killed a Pakistani national affiliated to the proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit. A soldier and an SPO, too, lost their lives in the firefight. Identified as Abu Saifullah alias Abu Qasim, the “most wanted” terrorist had been active in Kashmir for more than a year, cops said.
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