Hizbul Mujahideen commander martyred

Police also said that the Itoo and two others were involved in a number of anti-national and militancy-related activities.

Hizbul Mujahideen commander Yasin Itoo is among the three terrorists killed in the Shopian encounter. During the operations, 2 Army jawans were martyred and 3 jawans were injured.

He said “in this period of great fitna, Yasin was a mujahid commander who stood for unity in the ranks and was looked upto by all rank and file in mujahideen”.

The operation began after security forces received inputs that terrorists are present in Awneera village of Zainapora area of the district.

“Details will be released once families are informed”, an army official said. Two among them succumbed to injuries last night. All three terrorists holed up were killed.

Earlier among the three militants killed in the encounter, the police had identified one militant as Adil Malik but after verification, the police said Malik was not among the killed.

The killing of Muhammad Yasin Itoo alias Gaznavi and his two associates is a huge loss to the movement, said Dr Qasim Faktoo.

The other two militants killed in the gunfight have been identified as Umar Majeed and Sheikh Irfan-ul-Haq. When the security forces were trying to comb the area, the terrorists opened fire and attacked the security forces. He was also involved in bank robbery case of PS Yaripora.

Officials say that during the gunfight, four houses were damaged. Fearing large scale protests against the killings, the authorities in South Kashmir, have suspended internet services in Shopian and Kulgam to prevent spreading of information about the encounter.

Irate crowds clashed with the security forces at several places in the area during and after the encounter.

The dead soldiers were identified as Sepoy Ilayaraja P, a resident of Tamil Nadu, and Sepoy Gawai Sumedh Waman from Maharashtra.