Top Jaish commander ‘trapped’ in encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama

Soldiers take guard in Pingilana village after an encounter led to the killing of an army major and three other personnel in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, days after a major attack in the district killed at least 40 CRPF personnel

Four army personnel, including a major, were killed in a gunfight between militants and security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama early on Monday, days after a major attack in the district killed at least 40 CRPF personnel.

A civilian was also reportedly killed in the encounter.

A top Jaish-e-Mohammed commander linked to the Pulwama attack is believed to be among the three militants trapped in the encounter, according to sources.

Heavy firing was going on and announcements were being made appealing to villagers to stay indoors. The house where the militants were hiding was blasted.

State police and Army had launched a cordon and search operation overnight at Pingilana village in Pulwama district after a brief exchange of fire, according to a police spokesman.

At least 40 CRPF personnel were killed on Thursday when a Jaish militant rammed a car filled with explosives into a convoy carrying jawans on Jammu-Srinagar highway in Lethpora of Pulwama district.

The slain personnel — identified as major VS Dhoundiyal, havaldar Sheo Ram, sepoy Ajay Kumar and sepoy Hari Singh — belonged to the 55 Rashtriya Rifles of the Indian Army.

Recently, two militants were killed on February 13 in a gunfight with the security forces in Badgam district during a cordon and search operation.

Before that, Hizbul Mujahideen militant Hilal Ahmed Rather, the main accused in planning the escape of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Naveed Jhutt last year, was gunned down by Jammu and Kashmir police in Pulwama on February 12. An army jawan also lost his life in the encounter in Ratnipora.

As many as five terrorists belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizb-ul Mujahideen were killed in another encounter in Kulgam.

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