Jaish commander, aide killed in Bijbehara gunfight

A top Jaish-i-Muhamad (JeM) commander was among two militants killed in a gunfight with the security forces in Bijbehara town in this south Kashmir district on Tuesday.

Police identified the slain Jaish

commander as Fayaz Panzoo of Panzoo-Lurgam village of Tral. The second militant killed in the encounter, who was also active with JeM , has been identified as Shanu Showkat of Kanelwan village of Bijbehara town.

The JeM commander, according to the Police, was involved in a deadly attack on paramilitary CRPF men at KP-Road in Anantnag town on 1 June this year in which five CRPF men were killed and four others injured. The Station House Officer (SHO) Inspector Arshad Khan, who was seriously injured in the attack, also succumbed to injuries later.

“Big achievement. Another top Commander of #Jaish Fayaz Panzoo killed along with his associate,” police confirmed on its official twitter handle.

A senior police official who wished not to be named said that he (Fayaz) was a “trained sniper of Jaish”.

“His picture carrying sniper rifle had also gone viral on social media last year,” he said.

The official said at around 4 pm Police, Army and CRPF launched a joint cordon and search operation in Katoo- Wubzan village following “credible” input about presence of militants.

“As the searches were on the militants hiding in one of the houses fired on the forces. The fire was retaliated, triggering an encounter,” the official said.

In the ensuing encounter, both the trapped militants were killed, said the police official, adding their bodies were retrieved from the encounter site.

“Incriminating material including arms and ammunition were also recovered from the encounter site,” he said.

Meanwhile, as the gunfight raged on, youth came out and tried to disrupt operations by pelting forces with the stones.

The forces responded by lobbing teargas shells, and fired pellets. Clashes also erupted in Tral town, the native place of the slain JeM commander.

The bodies of the slain militants were yet to be handed over to the families for last rites when this report was being filed.

Authorities also suspended mobile internet services in Anantnag and Awantipora, as precautionary measure.