Two militants were killed while as many policemen were wounded in a brief exchange of fire in North Kashmir’s Sopore town on Saturday. The police claimed to have thwarted a major attack with Azhar Khan and Sajad Lone’s killing that Hizbul Muajhideen called a “big loss”. They said that the two were killed when they had launched an operation after receiving inputs that militants were planning an attack and were en route to Sopore. “While being challenged, they lobbed a grenade and fired upon a police party in which SP (Operations) Baramulla Shafaqat Hussain and Sub Inspector Mohammad Murtaza were injured,” a police spokesman said. “In the retaliatory action, the two militants were killed.’’
The police said that Khan was a resident of Nutnusa village in Kupwara while Lone belonged to Bomai near Sopore. They claimed to have recovered two rifles and four grenades from them. “Both were senior commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit and were involved in many terror activities,” the spokesman said. “Sajad was an active militant, who had gone to Pakistan in March 2016 on passport and infiltrated to take command of Hizbul Mujahideen in Sopore.’’
Sources said that Khan, a lecturer, had joined Hizbul Mujahideen a few months ago. “He taught Arabic at a government girls higher secondary,” a source said. “After Burhan Wani’s killing, he quit his job to become a militant.’’
“Both were local militants, who had been affiliated with the outfit for quite some time. Azaharuddin alias Ghazi Umar was a lecturer by profession, who had abdicated the government service,” a local newspaper quoted Hizb operational spokesman Gazi Burhan-ud-din as saying.