Kokernag Operation Ends | LeT commander Uzair Khan among 2 terrorists killed: ADGP Kashmir

Says searches in area continue; urges people not venture into forests till mopping is completed
Kokernag Operation Ends | LeT commander Uzair Khan among 2 terrorists killed: ADGP Kashmir

Srinagar: The week-long joint anti-terror operation in the Gadol forests of Kokernag in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district ended with the killing of a top LeT commander, however, a search operation in the area is underway.

Leading from the front, two Army officers - Colonel Manpreet Singh and Major Ashish Dhonchak, and a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Muhammad Humayun Muzamil Bhat - were martyred during the encounter.

What followed was more challenging - heavy firing from the side of the terrorists, making it an uphill task to evacuate the injured and those killed in action.

The bodies of the Army officers were recovered the next day with the help of paratroopers and Army mountaineers.

A Police officer was evacuated from the site of the gunfight on Wednesday evening with critical injuries, but later he succumbed on the way.

The faceoff continued for over 130 hours.

The heavily armed terrorists were hiding in tactically favourable locations in the dense and steep forest.

This indicated a new pattern being used by the terrorists to take on the security structure in Kashmir.

Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said on Tuesday that while the joint operation had ended, searches in the dense forests would continue for some more time.

“We have found the body of LeT terrorist commander Uzair Khan. It has been retrieved,” the ADGP said. “Another body of a terrorist was also seen, which we are retrieving. We had information about two to three terrorists, so we may find the body of another terrorist as well.”

The Kashmir Police chief urged the people to stay away from the forests, warning that live ammunition could be scattered around the site of the gunfight.

“The search operation will continue. We still have to search a large area. There will be lots of live ammunition as well. We will have to collect and destroy that,” he said.

Uzair Khan, a resident of Nagam in Anantnag, had gone missing last July to join terror ranks.

He dropped out of school when he was in class 12th and then did a course in electrical work.

Khan used to work as an electrician in the village before joining the terror ranks.

Officials had said earlier that drone footage showed a charred body near one of the terrorist hideouts destroyed during the operation.

Security forces have been using drones and helicopters to survey the dense forest area with several cave-like hideouts where terrorists are believed to have been holed up since Wednesday.

Security forces fired hundreds of mortar shells and rockets and targeted terrorist hideouts with hi-tech equipment.

They even dropped explosives using advanced drones.

For the past six days, echoes of heavy gunfire and loud explosions were heard in the dense forests. Army helicopters also dropped paratroopers and soldiers on the higher reaches of the forest, above the area where the gunfight took place.

Army's Northern Command chief Lt General Upendra Dwivedi visited the encounter site on Saturday where he was briefed about how troops are using the advanced equipment including drones and firepower against the terrorists.

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