In a fierce gunbattle between security forces and militants, mastermind of Ayodhya suicide attack and self-styled chief of Jaish-e-Mohmmad of Jammu region Dawood Khan was gunned down in Poonch district, police said on Monday.

Acting on a tip off, troops of 37 and 39 Rastriya Rifles and Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir police launched a combing operation in Narol forest area in Mendhar belt on Tuesday, Inspector General of Police of Jammu Ashok Gupta said. A gunbattle took place in which Dawood was killed, he said, adding that an AK rifle and three magazines were recovered from his possession.

Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda has complimented the operation party for its success in eliminating one of the most wanted terrorists in the state. “We have achieved a major success by killing Abdullah Sani alias Dawood Khan in an encounter last night,” Mr. Gupta said.

Dawood, a Pakistani militant and resident of Dabowal village in southern Pakistan, was in charge of the JeM in the region. He had planned and executed the Aydhoya attack in 2005, he said. Five militants of LeT and four persons, including three CRPF jawans were killed in the suicide attack at Ayodhya on July 5, 2005.

Poonch Senior Superintendent of Police Manmohan Singh said Dawood had sent trained militants from Mendhar area of Poonch district for the fidayeen (suicide) attack at Aydhoya in Uttar Pradesh.

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