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J&K: Top Hizbul commander among three militants gunned down in Pahalgam

The slain militant commander, Mohammad Ashraf Khan, was one of the oldest surviving militants in the Valley. The police termed the killing of the one of the most wanted militant commanders “on the (Amarnath) yatra route” as a major success.

By: Express News Service | Srinagar |
Updated: May 6, 2022 9:42:46 pm
J&K encounter, Rainawari encounter, Jammu and kashmir, LeT militants killed, J&K police, Indian expressThe police said Khan alias Ashraf Molvi and his two associates were killed in a gunfight that started Friday morning in the woods of south Kashmir's famous tourist destination Pahalgam. (PTI/Representational)

A top Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander was among three other militants who were killed in a gunfight in south Kashmir Friday. The slain militant commander, Mohammad Ashraf Khan, was one of the oldest surviving militants in the Valley.

The police said Khan alias Ashraf Molvi and his two associates were killed in a gunfight that started Friday morning in the woods of south Kashmir’s famous tourist destination Pahalgam.

The police termed the killing of the one of the most wanted militant commanders “on the (Amarnath) yatra route” as a major success.

“Ashraf Molvi (one of the oldest survivng terrorists of HM terror outfit) along with two other terrorists killed. Successful operation on yatra route is a major success,” J-K Police said in a tweet while quoting Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Vijay Kumar.

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Khan, a resident of Kokernag in south Kashmir’s Anantnag was in the list of the ten most wanted militant commanders released by the J-K police last year. He had joined Hizbul Mujahideen in 2013 and was active in different parts of south Kashmir for the last nine years. Police sources say while Khan was involved in several militant attacks, he was also instrumental in motivating the local youth to join the militant ranks in south Kashmir. Khan, who police sources say was in his late 40s, was categorized as an A++ militant in the police records.

The military operation started Friday morning, when a joint team of J-K Police and Army cordoned off the forest area at Sirchand Top of Batkoot in south Kashmir’s Pahalgam after inputs about the presence of militants in the area. A famous tourist destination, Pahalgam falls on one of the two Amarnath yatra routes.

As the joint team of forces was zeroing in on the target, the militants in the area opened indiscriminate fire and tried to break the security cordon. The joint team of forces returned the fire leading to a gunbattle that lasted several hours.

The gunbattle ended Friday afternoon with the killing of the militants. Police sources say that the killed militants most likely belonged to the Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit. While the police have identified one of the slain militants as Khan, they are yet to ascertain the identity of the others.

Khan is the second top militant commander killed in a gunfight this year. On April 22, a top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander, Mohammad Yousf Dar alias Yousuf Kantroo, was killed in a gunfight in north Kashmir’s Baramulla. Dar was a top Hibzul mujahideen commander before switching over to Lashkar-e-Toiba.

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