Top JeM Commander, Aide Killed in 18-Hr Long Kashmir Firefight

Srinagar, July 9: A top commander of the Pakistan based militant group Jaish Mohammad and his associate were killed in an 18-hour-long gunfight with Indian troops in Indian administered Kashmir on Saturday.

“Police assisted by the army launched a combing and search operation at village Bonagam-Hanjan Payeem, some 45 kms South of Srinagar last night after receiving inputs about the presence of militants in the area,” a police spokesman said.

He also said after plugging off all the escape routes, police and army men zeroed-in on a residential house, where two Jaish militants were hiding. “The hiding militants were asked to surrender and lay down their weapons. The militants, however, turned down the offer and fired from sophisticated weapons. The fire was returned and in the ensuing gunfight, which continued for 18 hours, two Jaish militants including a top commander were killed,” he said.

Identifying the deceased militants as Ahsan Bhai alias Mamoo of Pakistan and a local militant Javiad Ahmad Nengroo of Hanjan Payeen Rajpora, he said, “Ahsan Bhai was Jaish’s divisional commander for South Kashmir. He was active in the area for the last 11 years and instrumental in recruiting local youth for the outfit. He was involved in many attacks on security men including the recent ambush on army party in which an army man was killed and another injured”.

He said Javaid was active since 2008. “He was involved in attack on police station Rajpora, Pulwama”.

A police spokesman said two AK-47 rifles, 6 AK magazines, 60 rounds were recovered from the encounter site.

The residential house where from militants were firing on the troops was destroyed in the fire fight.

Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.