Jaish commander who plotted Pulwama killed, security forces pay heavy price

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Srinagar, Feb 18 (AGENCIES): Two Jaish terrorists, including a Pakistani commander of the group being investigated for his role in the February 14 CRPF bombing, and an Army major were among the seven people killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday, officials said.

At least six security personnel, including a lieutenant colonel and a deputy inspector general, were injured in the gun battle in Pulwama’s Pinglan area, about 12 km from where a suicide bomber belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammed drove his explosives-laden vehicle into a CRPF bus last week, killing 40 jawans.

The Pinglan encounter claimed the lives four Army personnel, two Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists and a civilian, officials said.

The slain terrorists were identified as Kamran, a Pakistani national and top commander of the Jaish and Hilal Ahmad, a local recruited by the terror group, they said.

“Kamran’s role in the February 14 suicide bombing of a CRPF convoy was under the scanner of investigators,” a senior police official said.

The slain soldiers are Major V S Dhondial, Havaldar Sheo Ram and Sepoys Hari Singh and Ajay Kumar.

The injured included DIG (south Kashmir) Amit Kumar, who received a gunshot wound in the abdomen, and a brigade commander, who was hurt in the leg.

The names of the Army personnel injured were not immediately known.

All the injured are stable, officials said. Security forces launched a cordon and search operation during the night after receiving inputs about the presence of militants in the area, a police official recounted.

Militants fired at forces as the searches got under way, triggering a gun battle, officials said.

The Jaish has claimed responsibility for the February 14 terror attack that targeted a convoy of 78 vehicles on its way from Jammu to Srinagar. About 2,500 CRPF personnel were on their way to the Valley, many returning to work after leave.

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