19 Militants Killed In Awantipora Police District This Year

Pulwama: As many as 19 militants, some of them top commanders, were killed by government forces in the areas falling under Awantipora police district and reckoned as militancy hotbeds, officials said.

The police district Awantipora includes Tral, Awantipora, Khrew and Pampore areas, home to popular deceased commanders like Burhan Wani, Sabzar Bhat and Noor Muhammad Tantray.

Zakir Musa, chief of Ansar Gazwat ul Hind, and Hizbul Mujahideen’s operational commander Riyaz Naikoo, who are currently active, hail from Awantipora.

“During this year most of the militant commanders were killed, especially in Tral. Five militants were also apprehended during the year,” superintendent of police Awantipora Mohammad Zahid Malik told Greater Kashmir.

In 2017, 15 militants were killed in the district.

The majority of militants killed this year, 16, were associated with Jaish-e-Muhammad outfit, two with Hizb and one with Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (Zakir Musa) group.

Most of the gunfights in which these militants were killed occurred in Tral, Khrew and Aripal areas of the police district.

The first gunfight of the year was recorded on 1 January 2018 at Lethpora, Awantipora, and the last on November 29 in Shaar Shaali area of Khrew.

On 1 January, a young militant, Fardeen Ahmed Khanday of Nazneenpora, Tral, and his associates attacked the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) training centre located at Lethpora, along Srinagar-Jammu highway.

Fardeen along with his two associates, Manzoor Ahmed Baba of Drabgam, Pulwama, and another Pakistani militant, were killed in the attack.

Two months later, operational commander of the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) Mufti Waqas alias Abu Arsalan was killed in a brief gunfight in Hatiwara village of Lethpora, Awantipora, on March 5. Waqas, government forces said, was the mastermind of deadly fidayeen attacks in Kashmir.

On 24 April, four militants, a soldier and a policeman were killed in the 12-hour-long anti-militancy operation in Laam forests of Tral.

All four militants belonged to Jaish-e-Muhammad outfit, two of them locals—Abid of Khangund and Ishfaq of Handoora. The other two were named by the police as Umar Khalid and Mufti Yasir, both Pakistani nationals.

Mufti Yasir, the ‘operational commander’ of the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), police said, was the personal security officer of JeM’s Pakistan-based chief Maulana Masood Azhar.

On June 19, at Nazneepora hamlet of Tral, three JeM militants were killed—one Pakistani national and two locals: Adil Akram Lone of Midoora and Danish Khaliq Dar.

On September 23, a top Jaish-e-Muhammed commander named Adnan was killed in a gunfight with government forces at Aripal tehsil of Tral.

On October 30, Usman Hyder, a Pakistani who was also the nephew of Masood Azhar, and Showkat Ahmad Khan of Hundoora, Tral, were killed in a gunfight in Chankitar area. Hyder was believed to be a sniper. A damaged sniper rifle was also recovered from the gunfight site, said a police source.

Prior to this gunfight, militants had resorted to sniper shooting on the security establishments in Tral and its outskirts, causing casualties among forces.

The month of November itself witnessed four different gunfights in which five militants were killed.

On November 9, a Jaish-e-Muhammad militant named Anwar of Pakistan was killed and a policeman sustained injuries in a gunfight in Darganaie Gund village of Tral.

On November 25, JeM militant Waseem of Pakistan was killed in a brief gunfight with the forces in Bathin village of Khrew.

On November 27, Shakir Hassan, a close associate of Zakir Musa was killed in a gunfight with government forces in Reshipora, Tral.

On November 29, a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander who never appeared on social media and was active for four years was killed along with his associate in a brief encounter with government forces in Shaar Shali area of Khrew township.

Both militants identified as district commander Adnan Ahmad Lone alias Uqaab, of Braw Bandina in Awantipora, and Adil Bilal Bhat alias Umair Al Hizbi, of Malangpora in Pulwama. Adil became active in 2017 whereas Adnan was active since January 2015. Adil as per police was considered as close aide of Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander Riyaz Naikoo.

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