Pulwama gunfight: Riyaz Naikoo's close aide among 2 Hizb militants killed.

Mir Wasim/GK

A close aide of Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander Riyaz Naikoo was among two militants killed in an overnight gunfight with security forces in this south Kashmir district, police said on Monday.

A police official identified slain militants as Irfan Ahmed Sheikh of Naira-Tahab active in the Hizb ranks since April 2016 and Irfan Ahmed Rather of Rajpora-Litter who had joined militancy in early 2017.  

The police official said, “Irfan Ahmed Sheikh was involved in several cases and worked in close coordination with Riyaz Naikoo.”

He said, “Sheikh was also instrumental in luring youth towards militancy.”

“The gunfight erupted at Pachhara village in Pulwama district after the militants, believed to be travelling in  a Tata Mobile vehicle where challenged by the soldiers of 44 Rashtriya Rifles at around 7:30 pm on Monday evening.  The militants opened fire triggering an encounter. Rather was killed in the initial exchange of fire only, while Sheikh managed to come out of vehicle and took refuge in nearby orchards,” another police official said.

He said the reinforcements were rushed to sport and searches were intensified to nab the other militants.

“Sheikh engaged the security forces in firefight till 2:30 am after which he was finally gunned down,” the police official added.

The bodies of both the militants were recovered and taken to police station where from they were handed to their families in the morning for last rites.