Top LeT commander among 2 militants killed in encounter in Srinagar

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Two militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), including a senior Pakistani leader involved in many recent attacks on security forces, were killed here on Monday in a meeting with security forces in Old Barzulla, police said.

Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the Old Barzulla area of the city in the early hours of Monday morning after receiving specific input on the presence of militants in the area, a police officer said.

He said that at 7:45 a.m., as the searches were ongoing, insurgents shot at the troops.

The forces retaliated, following a meeting, the official said.

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Two militants have been killed in a gunfight, the official added.

Director-General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh said that one of the two militants killed was a Pakistani and top LeT commander named Saifullah, who was involved in several recent attacks on security forces in and around Srinagar.

“The main Lashkar commander from Pakistan named Saifullah was killed in the operation. He was involved in three back-to-back major attacks on security forces in Nowgam, Chadoora, and Kandizaal here, “Singh told reporters at a press conference in the police control room.

The DGP said so far this year that the city of Srinagar witnessed eight meetings in which 18 militants were killed.

“In total, 75 effective anti-militancy operations have been carried out this year, in which 180 terrorists have been killed. 138 rebels and their supporters were also detained this year. As far as organizational milestones are concerned, this is a record of sorts relative to the last year. The number of killed and arrested is higher this year than in the last year, “he said.

The U.S. police chief said that all anti-military operations conducted this year were clean and conducted in a professional manner.

“Barring an operation at Batamaloo Srinagar, in which a woman was unfortunately killed in a crossfire, all operations were carried out by the security forces,” he said.

Asked about the number of fatalities on the security forces side, Singh said this year that 19 Jammu and Kashmir policemen had lost their lives, while 21 CRPF personnel and 15 Army soldiers — the majority of them in the LoC — were killed in the UT.

As to whether Lashkar and other outfits were trying to set their feet again in Srinagar City, the DGP said that the security forces were able to take care of the militants because of an effective intelligence network.

“Lashkar and all of us are trying to find their foothold in the region, but our int (intelligent) network is quite strong and quite successful, and it is because of this powerful int network that our troops have been able to find and take care of them,” he said.

At present, he said that only one militant was active in the city and has been involved in a few attacks on the security forces so far.

“We are searching for him and will soon bring him to court,” said the DGP.

Asked about the number of youth who had given up the military so far in the valley, Singh said that 26 youth who had joined the military had been taken back with the assistance of their parents and the hard work of the police.

On another question concerning the surrender policy for such young people and whether the police had sent them outside J-K, the DGP said that there was no official policy yet.

“No youth was sent out of the UT. Officially, there is no strategy yet, “he said.

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