Updated: March 10, 2021 12:17:06 am
A top Al-Badr commander was killed in an encounter on Tuesday evening in north Kashmir’s Sopore district. Police called the killing of militant commander Abdul Gani Khawaja as a major success.
On Tuesday evening, a joint team of J&K Police, army and paramilitary forces cordoned off the Tujjar village of Sopore after specific inputs about the presence of militants.
As the team zeroed in on the house where the militants were hiding, the latter opened fire triggering a gunfight.
“After the search operation, when the presence of the terrorist was ascertained, he was given an opportunity to surrender. However, he fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, leading to an encounter,” the police said in an official statement. They added, “In the ensuing encounter, one terrorist was killed and his body was retrieved from the site. The killed terrorist has been identified as Ab Gani Khawaja chief of proscribed terrorist outfit Al- Badr.”
A resident of Kralgund in Handwara, Khawja had returned to militancy 2018. While he was initially associated with Hizbul Mujahideen, he was shifted to Lashkar-e-Taiba later. Police, however, said Khawaja was currently associated with Al Badr and was its operational chief in the Valley.
Khawaja had first crossed over to Pakistan for arms training in 2000 and returned two years later. However, he was later arrested by J&K Police and then released sometime later. He again joined the militants in 2018.
Police said he was involved in several “attacks on forces and civilians” in north Kashmir, including two shoot-and-run attacks in Sopore in which several paramilitary personnel were killed.
“He was also involved in providing arms and ammunition to terrorist associates for carrying out subversive activities in the area,” Police said, adding that he was operating in the areas of North Kashmir, including Langate, Upper/Lower Qaziabad, Handwara, Sopore, Zainageer, Tujjar and Barahampora.
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