Three local militants were killed in a gunfight in a congested locality of Srinagar’s Zadibal area on Sunday, while the body of a non-local militant was found at the Kulgam encounter site.
“The police on Saturday night received a tip-off about the presence of three militants in the Zadibal area. A siege was laid and efforts were made to ensure their surrender. The families [of two militants] and local elders made repeated pleas on loudspeakers to surrender. The hiding militants lobbed grenades and fired at security forces instead. All the three militants were killed in the gunfight,” said Vijay Kumar, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir.
One AK-47 and two pistols were recovered from the site. It was the second major gunfight in Srinagar since May this year.
“Two militants still remain active in Srinagar. Militants use Srinagar to receive funds and meet their group leaders and other associates,” Mr. Vijay Kumar said.
The police identified two slain militants as Shakoor Farooq Langoo from Bharthana, Srinagar, and Shahid Ahmad Bhat from Semthan, Anantnag.
“The identity of the third terrorist is yet to be ascertained. All of them were affiliated to the proscribed terror outfits such as the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Islamic State-JK,” the police said.
Mr. Vijay Kumar said Langoo was involved in the killing of two BSF jawans near Soura on May 20. “The snatched AK rifle, belonging to one of the BSF jawans, was also recovered from the site. It was a clean operation. The security forces displayed patience and exercised utmost restraint, with no collateral damage in a highly congested and densely populated area,” he said.
The police said they recovered the body of a militant in Likhdipora village in Kulgam, where a gunfight broke out on Saturday evening. “The slain terrorist was identified as Tayab Waleed alias Imran Bhai alias Gazi Baba, a Pakistani national affiliated to the Jaish-e-Mohammed,” the police said.
Waleed was an “operational commander” of the Jaish-e-Mohammed and was an expert in making improvised explosive devices, besides being a sharp shooter. One AK rifle, one M-4 carbine and one pistol were recovered from the site, the police said.
Mr. Vijay Kumar said the consignment, including a U.S.-made M-4 carbine, air-dropped by a downed drone in Kathua, was likely meant for Furqan, an active member of the Jaish-e-Mohammed in south Kashmir.
The police said that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bodies of the militants have been sent to Handwara and Baramulla for burial. “The nearest of the family members of the killed terrorists shall also participate in their last rites,” they said.
Mr. Vijay Kumar said the security forces had killed 106 militants so far this year, but “100 to 200 militants are still active”.
“There may have been some successful infiltration bids. The police don’t go by the number, and their job is to kill militants wherever they get a lead,” he said.
“It is for the first time that the militant leadership in Kashmir stands collapsed. All the leaders of four major outfits — including the Hizbul-Mujahideen, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Ansaar Gazwatul Hind — have been killed,” he said.