Overnight gunfight in Krankshivan Colony of Sopore, 55 Km from Srinagar, in northern Kashmir ended on Monday as both the holed up militants were killed.
An officer engaged with the operation but not authorised to speak to media told The Hindu from the site of the encounter that one of the most wanted LeT militant of North and Central Kashmir Mehmood Bhai alias Huraira was among the two guerrillas killed. He said that another was believed to be a local militant Javed Ahmad Matoo son of Abdul Gani Matoo of Khushhal Matoo Sopore but his body was yet to be recovered from the debris for conclusive identification.
Matoo's mother, on Police request, came to the spot late on Sunday night and asked him over the public address system to surrender. However, there was no response to her call. "Either the militant was dead by that time or he was not inclined to respond to such a call for surrender", a senior official told The Hindu.
According to the Police and the officers of Rashtriya Rifles 22nd battalion, who carried out the operation on a tip off, Matoo had been operating in Sopore since 2008. Huraira, according to them, was the same dare-devil militant who had escaped from six encounters, one in Ahmed Nagar area of Srinagar last year.
"Even today he succeeded to break the tight cordon and was almost out of the area when he got hit and died. He was unparalleled in the art of escaping", said an officer. One AK-47 rifle has been recovered and the search was under way for the body of another militant and his gun. Officials claimed Huraira's death in the encounter was a major setback for LeT in the valley and a remarkable achievement for the police and the security forces.
The encounter took place at the house of a Hurriyat (Geelani) leader Abdul Gani Guru. Officials said the militants came out of his house and took position inside a saw mill on the premises. It suffered extensive damage though Mr Guru's residential house was not harmed.