Pulwama: Hizbul Mujahideen today suffered a severe blow as three top militants of the outfit, including a self-styled divisional commander and a battalion commander hiding in a house, were killed in a gun battle with security forces in Pulwama district of South Kashmir.
Acting on a tip off provided by the local police, a joint team of police, 44 Rashtriya Rifles of the army and CRPF cordoned Drubgam village in Rajpora, 45 kms from here, police said.
They said the militants hiding in a house opened fire on the security forces prompting them to retaliate in which all the three ultras were killed.
They identified the slain militants as Lateef Dedeer, a divisional commander, Rafiq Ahmad Gujri, a battalion commander and their bodyguard Munir Ahmad.
Lateef Dedeer, was the most wanted militant, as he had deserted special operations group (SOG) of local police along with weapons seven months ago and joined Hizbul Mujahideen.
The outfit rewarded him for joining its ranks by giving him the post of divisional commander, the sources said.
They said two AK 47 rifles, two pistols and a pouch were recovered from the site of the encounter. The house of Abdul
Rashid Khan where the militants were hiding was damaged during the encounter, they said.
Minutes after the operation was over, another gunbattle broke out between militants and security forces in the nearby village Yugershar, the sources said.
They said police, assisted by troops of 55 Rashtriya Rifles, 182 battalion of CRPF cordoned the village following specific information about the presence of militants in the house of Ghulam Qadir Naik.
The gunbattle was going on when reports last came in they said.