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'Key conspirator' in Pulwama suicide car bomb attack among 2 militants killed in encounter

Villagers looking at a house damaged during a gunfight in Tral.

Villagers looking at a house damaged during a gunfight in Tral.   | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD

Aide also died in the Tral encounter

Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) ‘commander’ Mudasir Ahmad Khan, a “key conspirator” in the Pulwama attack that left 40 CRPF jawans dead on February 14, was among two militants killed in an encounter at Tral in Pulwama on Sunday night.

“We have managed to kill the main conspirator Mudasir Ahmed Khan, a resident of Tral’s Midoora village. Another JeM militant from Pakistan, known as Khalid, was also killed,” said Lieutenant-General K.J.S. Dhillon, General Officer Commanding of the Army’s 15 Corps.

He was addressing a press conference with CRPF Inspector-General (Operations) Zulfiqar Hasan and Inspector General of Police S.P. Pani. Khan and his associate were trapped in a residential area in Pinglish village on Sunday afternoon. The house where they were holed up was blasted. The police retrieved the charred bodies of the militants on Monday morning. Khan’s body was handed over to the family.

Khan alias Mohammad Bhai, 23, a graduate who worked as an electrician, joined the JeM in January 2018 after his handler and JeM ‘operational commander’ Noor Mohammed Tantray alias Noor Trali was killed in December 2017.

The duo were involved in “planning and executing several terror attacks”, including a fidayeen (suicide) attack on a CRPF camp at Lethpora in Pulwama in December 2011, the police said.

Security agencies believe Adil Ahmad Dar, the suicide bomber who blew up an explosive-laden car next to a CRPF convoy on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway on February 14, “was in touch with Khan” -- both belonged to Pulwama district. However, Sajjad Bhat from Anantnag’s Bijbehara area, who purchased the vehicle for the attack and joined the JeM, still remains on the run.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had also searched the house of Khan on February 27 and “seized many papers”.

Earlier, three JeM militants, Hilal Ahmad, a local, and Kamran alias Fahad and Rashid alias Gazi alias Lukaman, both from Pakistan, were killed “within 100 hours of the attack on February 19”. The Army had said they were involved in the Pulwama attack too.

Major successes against JeM: Army

Meanwhile, The Army said it has achieved major successes against the JeM since the February 14 deadly attack.

“Fourteen of 18 militants killed since the Pulwama attack were affiliated to JeM. Of the 18, 10 were locals and eight from Pakistan,” said Lt. Gen. Dhillon.

IGP Pani said the recruitment of youth has come down significantly. “We haven’t seen such a thing (recruitment) in the last three months,” he said IGP Pani.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 1:47:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pulwama-terror-attack-mastermind-believed-to-be-killed-in-encounter-officials/article26493320.ece

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