Two terrorists believed to be behind the recent killing of a Kashmiri Hindu were gunned down early Tuesday in an encounter with security forces inside a mosque in south Kashmir's Pulwama district. An Army jawan was also killed.
Security forces cordoned off an area in Padgampora village following a tip-off that at least two armed terrorists were hiding inside the mosque, officials said. The incident, which comes after Sunday's killing of a Kashmiri Pandit, took place around 1.15 am.
'Security forces exercised extreme restraint given the fact that the two local militants were holed up inside a mosque. We were determined to ensure there was no damage to the mosque,' a senior police officer said.
During the encounter, a soldier working with 55 Rashtriya Rifles received a bullet in his thigh, puncturing a main artery. There was heavy loss of blood and the soldier could not survive, the officer said.
Recapping what had happened, he said one of the terrorists, identified as Aqib Mustaq Bhat, was killed in the mosque premises. The other, identified as Ajaz Ahmed Bhat, a resident of Trall near Pulwama, jumped out, possibly from a window, and took refuge in a house close to the mosque.
"Killed terrorist identified as Aqib Mustaq Bhat of Pulwama (A category). He initially worked for HM [Hizbul Mujahideen] terror outfit, nowadays he had been working with TRF. Killer of late Sanjay Sharma neutralised," J&K Police's ADGP Vijay Kumar tweeted earlier in the day.
His location was tracked through technical surveillance and security forces trapped him inside the house before shooting him dead, the officer said.
The police said that it recovered incriminating materials including arms and ammunition from the encounter site.
On Sunday, Sanjay Sharma, a bank guard, was shot dead by terrorists barely 100 metres from his home in Achan in Pulwama when he was on his way to the local market. Sharma, was rushed to hospital by passersby but it was too late.
'Killed #terrorist identified as Aqib Mustaq Bhat of #Pulwama (A category). He initially worked for HM #terror outfit, nowadays he had been working with TRF. #Killer of late Sanjay Sharma #neutralised,' .
(With inputs from PTI)
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