Two top aides of Hizb-ul Mujahideen chief Riyaz Naikoo were gunned down by security forces in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district early on Thursday, police said.
The gunfight broke out late last night between troops of 50 RR (Rashtriya Rifles) and terrorists in Khrew area of Awantipora in Pulwama.
As the encounter continued till the wee hours of Thursday, additional troops of D/185 Battalion and A/130 Battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), along with Special Operations Group, Pampore later joined the operation.
Arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter, including 02 AK-series weapons.
The terrorists have been identified as Adnan Ahmad Lone alias Uqaab, of Braw Bandina in Awantipora, and Adil Bilal Bhat alias Umair Al Hizbi, of Malangpora in Pulwama.
The two slain terrorists were said to be extremely close associates of Naikoo.
Adil Bhat had escaped from encounters in Srinagar a number of times. Adil was also behind the killing of head constable Ashiq Hussain in Awantipora in October 2017.
Adnan Lone was inducted in Hizb-ul Mujahideen before the killing of its top commander Burhan Wani and was in-charge of the outfit’s finances. According to police, Adnan was also the district commander of Pulwama. Several terror cases were registered against him.
“They were Riyaz Naikoo’s left and right hands. He is without his arms now,” a top source said.
Adil became active in 2017 whereas Adnan was active since 2015.
Both the terrorists were wanted for a series of terror offences including attacks on security establishments and civilian atrocities.
No collateral damage took place during the encounter.
Speaking to India Today, Jammu and Kashmir DGP Dilbagh Singh said, “Acting on a specific intelligence input, security forces busted the hideout in a house and killed the terrorists.”
“The operation was a crucial one and extremely well coordinated. No collateral damage occurred in the operation,” Singh told India Today.
This comes a day after top Pakistani commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Naveed Jatt, who was wanted for the murder of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari, along with another terrorist, were shot dead in an encounter in Budgam district.
The latest operation was carried out in view of the panchayat polls that are underway in the state.