Srinagar: In a jolt to Hizbul Mujahideen, its three militants, including self-styled chief operations commander Yasin Itoo alias ‘Gaznavi’, were killed in an encounter that began on Saturday night and also claimed the lives of two armymen in Shopian district of South Kashmir.
Following a tip-off to the local police, a cordon was laid in Awnira village of Shopian last night by the Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Army and the CRPF.
Militants fired at the approaching security personnel, wounding five Army personnel, two of whom later died. This prompted the security forces to wait till dawn while keeping a tight cordon around the area before launching a major strike. Intermittent firing continued the whole night, and the operation began in full swing in the morning.
All three terrorists holed up were killed. They were identified as Irfan, a tech-savvy militant involved in online propaganda for the militant outfit, and Umar, who was personal security man of Ghaznavi. Itoo, from Budgam district of central Kashmir, had a long association with Hizbul Mujahideen and was involved in keeping alive the prolonged unrest of 2016 following the killing of group’s commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces, besides recruiting several young men into the outfit, police said.