Three militants, including Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) Kashmir chief Qari Yasir, were killed by security forces in an encounter that ensued during a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) in south Kashmir district of Pulwama, official sources said.
This was the second encounter in Pulwama during this week in which a soldier, a jawan of Special Operation Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police and an unidentified militant were killed in about 55-hour-long encounter which ended on Thursday evening.
Sources said that on a tip off about the presence of militants, troops of Rashtriya Rifles (RR), SOG and CRPF launched a joint search operation at Hariparigam about 5 km from main town Tral in Pulwama early Saturday morning.
All exit points were sealed and house to house searches were launched, they said, adding that when the security forces were moving towards a particular area in the residential area, militants hiding there opened fire with automatic weapons.
Security forces retaliated in the ensuing encounter, sources said, adding that additional troops were rushed from nearby camps to further tighten the cordon around the area.
Three militants were killed in the encounter this afternoon, they said.
“As the searches were going on in the area, the hiding militants opened fire on security forces in which three soldiers were injured who were shifted to hospital immediately. In the retaliatory action, three militants were neutralized,” a police official said.
One of the slain militant was identified as Qari Yasir, a Pakistani national, who police believes was preparing fidayeen (sucide) squad for the Jaish.
Another killed militant is Burhan Sheikh, who police believes was being trained to be a fidayeen. Police said Yasir was behind the killing of two members of the nomadic Gujjar community from a forest area in Pulwama district in August last year.
The operation was going on when the reports last came in, they said, adding two to three militants are reportedly hold up in the area. Meanwhile, additional security forces and police personnel have been deployed in the nearby areas and Tral town to prevent any demonstration.