A Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) commander, who was involved in the February 14 Pulwama attack, was killed in an encounter with a joint team of forces in Bijbehara area of Anantnag district on Tuesday.
On Tuesday afternoon, after a tip-off about presence of militants, a joint team of J&K Police, Army and paramilitary forces cordoned off Katoo village of Bijbehara area. As the joint team were zeroing in on the target house, militants hiding in the village opened fire, triggering a gun battle. In the encounter that lasted several hours, the two JeM militants were killed.
Fayaz Ahmad Thokar, a resident of Tral, was killed along with another local militant.
J&K Police termed Thokar’s killing as a “big achievement”.
“He (Thokar) was a co-conspirator in the February 14 Pulwama suicide attack,” a senior police officer said. “He was a prize catch.”
Police have identified the other slain militant as Shan Showkat Bhat.
Police sources said Thokar was a close associate of JeM commander Mudasir Khan, who was killed in Tral. A resident of Midoora, Khan was the brains behind the attack.
Police said Thokar was also the main accused in the fidayeen attack at Anantnag in June. Five CRPF personnel were killed in the attack and a Station House Officer(SHO) Arshad Khan was injured, who later succumbed at a New Delhi hospital.
After a halt in the anti militancy operations in south Kashmir, in wake of the ongoing annual Amarnath yatra, Tuesday’s encounter was the second counter insurgency operation since July 27, when two JeM militants were killed in an encounter in Shopian district’s Bonabazar .