Srinagar: A Jaish-e-Mohammed cadre who was believed to be the “main conspirator” behind the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama was killed along with another militant, possibly a Pakistani national, in a fierce gunbattle that started on Sunday evening and went on till the early hours of Monday in the district’s Tral area.
Officials identified him as 23-year-old Mudassir Ahmed Khan, alias Muhammad Bhai, an electrician. Mudassir, a graduate, was a resident of Midoora village in Tral (Pulwama).
The police said the identity of the other slain militant was being ascertained.
It, however, also said that on the basis of the incriminating material recovered from the site of the encounter, it is understood that he was a Pakistani national codenamed Khalid.
On February 14, a Jaish cadre, 22-year-old Adil Ahmed Dar, alias “Waqas commando”, detonated the Maruti Suzuki Eeco with at least 60 kg of deadly RDX after driving it parallel to a fully-occupied bus that was part of a large CRPF convoy at Lethapora along the Srinagar-Jammu highway.
As many as 49 CRPF personnel were killed and many others injured in the massive blast. The officials said it was Khan who arranged the vehicle and explosives used in the strike.
They said Khan is also believed to be involved in the terror strike at the Army camp in Sunjawan in Jammu in February 2018, in which six soldiers and a civilian were killed.
His role has also come under the lens in the Lethapora attack on a CRPF camp in January 2018 that left five personnel dead.
An earlier report said the other militant killed with him during the gunfight in Tral’s Pinglish village was Sajjad Bhat, a resident of Bijbehara area in Anantnag district, and the owner of the Maruti Eeco used in the blast.
But officials said since the militants’ bodies were completely charred in the gunfight they were finding it difficult to identify them. Bhat’s brother refu-sed to take the body, saying it was charred beyond recognition. However, Khan’s body was taken by his family and he has since been buried in a cemetery of Tral. The fighting at Pinglish erupted Sunday evening after the security forces laid siege to the village to conduct an operation to flush out militants, dead or alive.
“The security forces launched a cordon and search operation after receiving specific intelligence about the presence of terrorists in the area. The operation turned into an encounter after the terrorists opened fire at the search party”, a police spokesman said....