In the first gunfight with security forces after Jammu and Kashmir was put under Governor’s rule, four militants belonging to the Islamic State terror group were killed on Friday in Anantnag district, Director General of Police (DGP) S.P. Vaid said.
This is the first official confirmation of any IS militant being killed in Kashmir.
In a significant development, the police chief tweeted: “The slain terrorists were reportedly affiliated to Islamic State Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK).”
On its website in 2017 the Islamic State had said that its Indian affiliate, Ansar Gazwatul Hind was being headed by Zakir Musa, a Kashmiri militant commander.
The four militants killed have been identified as ISJK chief Dawood Salafi alias Burhan from HMT Srinagar, Majeed Manzoor from Talangam village in Pulwama district, Adil Hassan Mir and Ashraf Itoo, both from Srigufwara in Anantnag.
A civilian and a policeman were also killed in Friday’s gun battle that erupted in Srigufwara area early in the day after information about the four militants holed up in a house in Khiram village was received by the security forces.
With days left for the highly awaited Amarnath Yatra the security forces laid a cordon around the village following specific information about the presence of the militants.
“As the cordon was tightened, the militants fired, triggering the encounter,” a police officer said.
Vaid said: “The bodies of the slain terrorists can be seen inside the house where they were hiding. We are retrieving the bodies.”
The house owners also came in the line of fire. While the husband Muhammad Yusuf was killed, his wife Hafeeza sustained a gunshot injury. She was shifted to a hospital for treatment, police said.
A member of the special operations group (SOG) of the state police was also killed during the operation, while three other security personnel were injured, the police said.
Earlier dozens of youth had started pelting stones at the security forces near the encounter site as the gun battle progressed.
Authorities have suspended mobile Internet services in the district to check the spread of any kind of rumours.