Major success for forces in Kashmir; Al-Qaeda affiliated commander, 5 other terrorists killed

Pulwama: In a major success, security forces on Saturday killed six terrorists in Kashmir, including the deputy of Zakir Musa, who is the chief of Al-Qaeda affiliated Ansar Ghazat-ul-Hind terror outfit.

All the six, who was killed in an encounter in Awantipora area of Pulwama district, were locals and involved in a series of terror attacks on security establishments and civilians, the police said.

The encounter erupted after security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the area following specific intelligence input about the presence of terrorists in the area, the police said.

The hiding terrorists fired upon the security forces, triggering the encounter, the police said.

“Six terrorists were killed in the operation, there was no collateral damage,” Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Range) S P Pani told ANI.

Among those killed was Soliha Mohammad Akhoon alias Rehaan Khan, deputy chief of Musa-led Ansar Ghazat-ul-Hind, police sources said.

Zakir Musa, whose actual name is Zakir Rashid Bhat, is a former Hizbul Mujahideen commander who founded the Al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind two years back.

Soliha was involved in several terror attacks on security establishments and many other civilian atrocities in the area, the police sources said.

Others killed in the operation were identified as Faisal, Nadeem Ahmad Sofi, Rasiq Mir, Roof and Umar, the police said.

A defense spokesman said weapons and war-like stores were recovered from the encounter site.

Pani said it was a “clean operation” and thanked civilians for cooperating with the security forces.

Just a week back, a similar anti-terrorist operation in same Pulwama district’s Sirnoo village was hit by stone-pelting by some locals and seven civilians were killed in the retaliatory action by the security forces.

As per police records, all six terrorists had a long history of terror crime records.

Several terror cases were registered against Rasiq under section 13, 18, 18E, 20 ULAP Act.

Similarly, Nadeem and Umar were also involved in several terror crimes while Rouf and Faisal were involved in planning and executing many terror attacks in the area.

The police stated that the bodies of all the six terrorists after completion of medico-legal formalities were handed over to their legal heirs.