The Police and the security forces on Friday claimed to have killed Hizbul Mujahideen’s “divisional commander” Sajjad Yousuf Mir in a fierce gunbattle in southern Kashmir.

Reports from the district headquarters of Pulwama and Shopian in south Kashmir said that the gunbattle was continuing till late on Friday night. Residents said that the police and the Army swooped on Wandena village of Pulwama district and zeroed in on a residential house. Soon an exchange of fire started which continued till late in the night.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police South Kashmir Vijay Kumar confirmed the death of one militant who, according to him, was identified as Hizbul Mujahideen’s top wanted militant Sajjad Yousuf Mir of Littar. The DIG claimed that Sajjad Yousuf was his organisation’s “divisional commander” and “financial chief”.

Recoveries of arms and ammunition --- one AK rifle, two pistols, one IED, five hand grenades and one under barrel grenade launcher --- suggested that Sajjad Yousuf was holding a high rank.

Informed sources said that one more militant, suspected to be Ashraf Rather of the same outfit, was still trapped even as the gunfire subsided late in the night. A Brigadier, controlling the troops of Rashtriya Rifles 55th battalion, DIG South Kashmir and Superintendent of Police Shopian Mumtaz Ahmad were leading the operation.