In a dispute to Hizbul Mujahideen, its three militants, including self-styled chief operations commander Yasin Yatoo alias ‘Gaznavi’, were killed in an encounter that began on Saturday night and also claimed the lives of two army men in Shopian district of South Kashmir.
A cordon was laid in Awnira village of Shopian on Saturday night by the Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, army and the CRPF.
Militants fired at the approaching security personnel, wounding five army personnel, two of whom later died. This prompted the security forces to wait until dawn while keeping a tight cordon around the area before launching a major strike.
All three terrorists holed up were killed. They were identified as Irfan, a tech-savvy militant involved in online propaganda for the militant outfit, and Umar, who was personal security man of Ghaznavi.
Yatoo, from Budgam district of central Kashmir, had a long association with Hizbul Mujahideen and was involved in keeping alive the prolonged unrest of 2016 following the killing of group’s commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces, besides recruiting several young men into the outfit.
He was identified by his family members who were brought to the scene of the encounter by police from their residence in Budgam.
Yatoo, often called a ‘vintage militant’ as he joined Hizbul Mujahideen in 1996, had surrendered in 2007 and later released on parole in 2014. He joined the militant group again and was its self-styled chief operations commander.
Five soldiers were injured in the gunfight on Saturday and had to be evacuated to 92 Base Hospital of the Army for treatment.