Militant killed in Shopian shootout

A militant was killed in a brief shootout with security forces at a village in Shopian district during the wee hours of Friday.

The slain militant was identified as Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi son of Mushtaq Ahmad Sofi of Model Town-B, Sopore.

Ishfaq, according to a senior police official, was affiliated with an IS-backed outfit which the official did not name. However, another senior police official told Greater Kashmir that they were still ascertaining the group affiliation of the slain militant.

“It may take some more time,” he added.

A police official said that at around 4 a.m a joint team of army’s 23 PARA and SOG men surrounded Ramnagri area of Herpora, some 15 kms from Shopian town, following the credible information about the presence of militants in the area.

The forces surrounded the area and carried out searches. In the ensuing gunfight, a militant got killed in a farm, the official said. The body of the deceased was handed over to his family.

Later in the day, a police spokesperson in a statement said that Ishfaq had initially joined proscribed Harkat-Ul-Mujahideen militant outfit (HuM) and he along with his associates was involved in a series of crimes including grenade attacks on CRPF bunkers at Safa Kadal, Soura and police station Khanyar.

Sofi, according to the spokesperson, was subsequently arrested and after his release on bail, he again got recycled and joined the militancy last year.

“He got involved in planning and executing the attacks. He was also involved in attacks on security establishment and many other civilian atrocities,” the spokesperson said.

He added that incriminating material including arms and ammunitions were recovered from the possession of killed militant.

Following the encounter, a group of young men, according to the eyewitnesses, hit the streets and threw stones on forces near Batapora crossing in Shopian. Soon the entire town witnessed a shutdown while the traffic vanished from the roads.

Authorities shut the mobile internet services in the area.

This is the second encounter this month in the area. On May 3, three militants were killed during a gunfight with forces in Adkhara, Imamsahib village.