Two militants killed in Tral gunfight; Jaish identifies one as Masood Azhar’s nephew

Two militants were been killed in a gunfight with the government forces at Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. One of the slain militants was reportedly identified as a nephew of Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar.

While the police said that it was ascertaining the identity of the slain, the JeM, in a statement issued to news agency GNS confirmed one of the slain as a nephew of outfit’s chief Masood Azhar.

Identified as Mohammad Usman, the JeM also paid tributes to him as well as the second militant whom it identified as “Showkat Ahmad”, a local, said the report.

Quoting an unnamed police officer, the report said two charred bodies of the militants were recovered from the site of the gunfight.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Swayam Prakash Pani confirmed to the news gathering agency that two militant bodies have been recovered and said that “this was the module responsible for recent stand-off attacks.”

The gunfight broke out in Chankitar village of Mandoora area of Tral on Tuesday afternoon soon after a joint team of army’s 42RR, SOG and 180 BN CRPF launched a cordon and search operation following “specific” information about the presence of some militants there.

As the joint team of government forces intensified searches, the militants hiding in the area fired upon at government forces, triggering off an encounter.

During the course of the gunfight, sources said, the house was razed to rubble and massive were searches launched.

“In Chankitar area of Tral, a cordon and search operation was launched by security forces today based on credible inputs about the presence of militants in the area,” said a police spokesman.

During the search operation, he said, the militants hiding in a house fired on the search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter.

“In the ensuing encounter so far two bodies of the militants have been recovered. They are affiliated with JeM outfit,” said the spokesman.

The identities of the slain militants are being ascertained, he said, adding that search is still going on in the area.

“Citizens are once again requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials.

People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any,” he appealed.

Earlier, a police official said a sniper rifle was recovered from the site of the gunfight. However, there was no official confirmation yet.