Security forces today gunned down the Kashmir chief of militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad in an operation in Kupwara district.
Qari Yasir was the seniormost commander of Jaish-e-Mohammad in the Valley and was active in North Kashmir for the past seven years,according to the police.
His killing is being considered as a big setback to the militant group,which has minimal presence in the Valley a strength of around 10-12 militants across Kashmir. Jaishs operations in Kashmir had substantially decreased after its men tried to assassinate then Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf.
He (Qari) sustained injuries in an encounter on July 10 at Lalpora in Lolab. Since then security forces were after him and today he was killed in an encounter, said Lt Gen Gurmeet Singh,commander 15 Corps,who visited Kupwara. He said 11 cases related to militancy were registered against him in Lolab area.
Police sources said Qari,a resident of Pakistans Swat Valley,was tasked to revive Jaish-e-Mohammad in Kashmir. He used to operate in the forests of Lolab,Kupwara and Zanigeer belt of Sopore. The task given to Qari by his mentors was to revive and strategize the activities of Jaish in Kashmir, said a senior police officer.
The police said Qari took over as chief commander of Jaish in the Valley after Sajjad Afghani was killed in an encounter near Srinagar in 2011.
A police spokesman said the encounter took place at Garewad village in Lolab after Army and police launched a joint operation last night. The exchange of fire took place after the forces noticed movement of some persons at the village Tuesday morning. The forces challenged them resulting in an encounter, he said.