Jammu: Three terrorists including one Lashkar-e-Tayeeba (LeT) commander hailing from Pakistan were eliminated by the joint team of security forces in a clean operation in the Sopore town of North Kashmir's Baramulla district in the wee hours of Monday.The operation was launched after receiving specific intelligence input about the presence of terrorists in the area around 11.15 p.m.

After verifying the input the security forces surrounded the house and appealed to the hiding terrorists to surrender. “In spite of repeated appeals to surrender, the latter opened fire, injuring an army soldier. The security forces retaliated and eliminated the terrorists in the ensuing gunfight that lasted three hours”. 

The security forces did not suffer any collateral damage even as the operation was conducted in the thickly populated area of Tantray Mohalla of Gund Barat village in Sopore.

According to police, the trio were involved in many militancy related incidents that included “killing of civilians, security forces personnel, former militants, Sarpanchs and Hurriyat/separatist leaders/activists in north Kashmir ''.

The police identified the foreign terrorist as Mudasir Pandit  alias Umer alias Mass Bhai. He has been active in the area since June 19.

A total number of 18 FIRs were lodged against him and he was involved in the killing of nine security forces personnel, four civilians, two former militants, three sarpanches and two separatists.

Police claimed another close associate of Pandit, who has been identified as Abdullah alias Asrar,a Pakistan national  along with Khursheed Mir of Sopore  were also eliminated in the fierce gunfight.

 These terrorists were involved in the killing of seven security forces personnel and five civilians, besides two incidents of grenade attacks.   Briefing media persons in Srinagar, Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh said all the three slain terrorists were top commanders of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit.

As per police, the Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives were the perpetrators of the attacks that killed two Councilors and one SPO on 29 March 2021 and four Policemen including innocent civilians in Sopore on 12 June 2021. On completion of the operation, three AKs, one pistol, grenade, ammunition and other war like stores were recovered from the slain terrorists. 

Inspector general of police (IGP), Kashmir Vijay Kumar said the slain terrorists were hiding in a house that belonged to the family of another local terrorist. “I urge the families not to give shelter to active terrorists. Then they blame the police for misbehaving with them. The families of terrorists should refrain from providing food and shelter to the active terrorists,” he said.

General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the Army”s Kilo Force Major General H S Sahi said a soldier was injured in the operation and he was evacuated to a hospital where his condition is stated to be stable.

He said this was the second such instance in the valley in recent times where local terrorists were found to be accompanied by Pakistani ultras.

“This is a big network nexus that exists, which is a cause of concern. This nexus needs to be broken and destroyed so that there is no hurdle in the peace and development of Jammu and Kashmir,” Maj. Gen. Sahi said. He appealed to the civil society and the people of Kashmir to cooperate with the security forces to break this network”.

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