Soldier killed as operation to eliminate LeT militant continues

October 28, 2015 11:00 pm | Updated March 24, 2016 09:44 pm IST - Srinagar:

A soldier was killed on Wednesday afternoon, as the operation launched by the security forces to eliminate the most-wanted Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operational commander Abu Qasim entered the second day on Wednesday. An operation is underway in Bhutoo forests of Bandipora, 40 km north of Srinagar, to eliminate Qasim, who gave a slip to the security forces on Tuesday too.

After a brief encounter with the security personnel of a search operation, Qasim yesterday fled from the gunbattle site, taking advantage of the green cover in the dense forest range.

There is no official confirmation if Qasim is trapped in the encounter or not but the intelligence agencies suspect that the militant commander recently travelled from south to north to receive a fresh batch of militants, whose number is between six to nine to carry out more attacks in the valley.

On Wednesday afternoon, the hiding militants killed a soldier of the army’s 14 Rashtriya Rifles during a firefight in the forest range. The soldier was injured in the firing and succumbed later at the hospital.

A large swathe of Bandipora forests is under siege to thwart attempts by the militants to break the cordon.

Qasim recently killed the valley’s top counter-insurgency cop Altaf Ahmad in Bandipora only. Operating for the past five years in south Kashmir, Qasim, whose name has figured in the Udhampur attack this year that left two BSF men dead, had apparently shifted his base to north Kashmir’s Bandipora district recently.

Elusive Qasim is behind several hi-profile militant attacks in the valley since 2012, which include the Hyderpora attack in 2013 that left eight army personnel dead, attack on the Silver Star hotel frequented by non-locals on October 10, 2012 and the attack on the BSF in Pampore 2013.

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