Srinagar: A top commander of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba is among three Islamic militants killed in an encounter with security forces in Lolab valley close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir during past 24 hours, officials said on Saturday evening.
Police and Army officials said that combing operation were underway in the area as accomplices of the slain militants may have fled into nearby woods before or during fighting that took place in Lohar Mohalla of Dardpora-Lolpora of Lolab valley.
The militants’ group, as per intelligence reports, was active in Lolab valley since sneaking into Jammu and Kashmir from PoK about six months ago. The group leader, among the three slain militants, has been identified as Lashkar’s one of the top commanders known by pseudonyms Abu Osama and Abu Darar. He is believed to be a resident of PoK.
Officials said that the fighting broke out soon after troops from Army’s 28 Rashtriya Rifles and J&K police’s counterinsurgency Special Operations Group (SOG) launched an operation against the militants on Friday evening. One militant was killed in the initial exchange of fire on Friday night, whereas two others were killed on Saturday, they said.
Reports from Dardpora said that after the killing of the first militant the security forces launched house-to-house search in the area. During the operation, they came under fire from a private house. One suspected militant was killed in retaliatory fire, reports said adding the security forces fired mortars to blow up the house resulting into the death of a third militant.
The corpses of slain militants were later handed over to local mosque management committee for burial and reports from Kupwara said that several areas in the district including Dardpora observed a spontaneous shut down to mourn the deaths. Also, clashes erupted between police and irate crowds in some parts of the region.