February 14 terror attack mastermind killed; one Major, 3 soldiers martyred in Pulwama encounter

Two Jaish-e-Mohammad militants, including the commander who masterminded Thursday’s terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama, have been killed in an encounter in the south Kashmir district, in which four army personnel were also martyred.

Abdul Rashid Ghazi, a JeM terrorist and an Afghan war veteran, who infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in 2018, is believed to have been cornered in the operation that took place overnight. 

Mohammad Umair, a nephew of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Moulana Masood Azhar, also believed to be a mastermind of the February 14 Pulwama attack, is also reportedly cornered during the encounter.

Three jawans and a Major-ranking officer were martyred in the encounter. The four Army personnel belonged to 55 Rashtriya Rifles, news agency ANI reported. Meanwhile, one civilian has also reportedly lost his life during the operation.

The gunfight started late on Sunday after security forces, including the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Special Operations Group (SOG) of the state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), surrounded the village following a tip off that JeM militants were hiding in Pinglena village.

“As the cordon was tightened, the holed-up militants fired triggering the gunfight. Firing exchanges are continuing at the encounter site,” Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said.

The gun battle comes less than a week after 49 CRPF troopers lost their lives following the attack that was carried out by a JeM suicide bomber on the Jammu-Srinagar highway in Pulwama.

It was the worst-ever attack in Jammu and Kashmir since militancy erupted in the state in 1989.