In a big jolt to the militancy, the Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander, Yasin Itoo alias Gaznavi was killed during an encounter at Awneera village in south Kashmir’s Shopian district. He was among the three militants gunned down by the Kashmir police.
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Muneer Khan, said of three militants killed in Shopian during an encounter, one is Yasin Itoo, the Hizbul Mujahideen’s operational chief.
“One of the terrorists killed today morning at Shopian is identified as Yasin Itoo; operational commander of Hizbul Mujahideen. Great success”, the Director General of Police, S.P Vaid, tweeted.
Since January the police and the army have killed four top militant commanders having immense operational capabilities. The commanders are Bashir Lashkari, Junaid Mattu, Abu Dujana and now Yaseen Itoo.
On Saturday afternoon, the Army, police and CRPF had launched the operation in Awneera hamlet, around 15 km from Shopian town, after receiving inputs about the presence of militants. During the ensuing encounter, five army troopers were wounded, who were moved to the hospital for treatment. Among the injured, two army personnel succumbed to their injuries. The killed army men were identified as Sepoy Gawai Sumedh Waman, 25, and Sepoy Ilayaraja P, also 25 years-old.
During the ensuing encounter, five army troopers were wounded, who were moved to the hospital for treatment. Among the injured, two army personnel succumbed to their injuries. The killed army men were identified as Sepoy Gawai Sumedh Waman, 25, and Sepoy Ilayaraja P, also 25 years-old.
Three militants were killed in the operation.
Earlier among the three militants killed in the encounter, the police had identified one militant as Adil Malik but after verification, the police said Malik was not among the killed.
The third militant was Yasin Itoo alias Gaznavi. The other two militants killed in the gunfight are Umar Majeed of Kulgam and Irfan-ul-Haq of Shopian.
Itoo was for long associated with separatist movement and later joined the militancy. The 41-year-old militant had appeared in several videos posted online in past one year. In one of the videos, he was addressing a huge rally in south Kashmir during the 2016 unrest.
A Srinagar based police spokesman said Umer Majeed was involved in a grenade attack on security forces at Yaripora and many firing incidents including Yaripora and Kanjikullah. He said he was also involved in bank robbery case of PS Yaripora.
He said Irfan-ul-Haq was involved in many cases including grenade attacks and firing on security personnel.
Officials say that during the gunfight, four houses were damaged. Fearing large scale protests against the killings, the authorities in South Kashmir, have suspended internet services in Shopian and Kulgam to prevent spreading of information about the encounter.
After the encounter, clashes erupted in Zainapora and other areas in Shopian.