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  India   All India  20 Sep 2023  Anantnag gunfight over, LeT commander Uzair killed

Anantnag gunfight over, LeT commander Uzair killed

Published : Sep 20, 2023, 1:52 am IST
Updated : Sep 20, 2023, 1:52 am IST

A heavily armed group of militants led by Khan had last Wednesday killed two Army officers

Security personnel during a search operation at Kokernag area, in Anantnag district, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. (PTI Photo)
 Security personnel during a search operation at Kokernag area, in Anantnag district, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. (PTI Photo)

SRINAGAR: Uzair Khan, one of the most wanted Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commanders, was along with another militant gunned down by the security forces as an intense anti-terror operation in the woods of Kokernag in Kashmir Valley’s southern Anantnag district entered its seventh day on Tuesday.

A heavily armed group of militants led by Khan had last Wednesday killed two Army officers Colonel Manpreet Singh, Commanding Officer of the Army’s 19 Rashtriya Rifles (12 Sikh Light Infantry) and Major Ashish Dhonack and deputy superintendent of the J&K police Humayun Bhat and injured a couple of more security personnel soon after they had entered the Gadool hamlet of Kokernag to flush it out.

On Friday, one of the injured soldiers died in a military hospital here. On Sunday, the corpse of another Army jawan Pradeep Singh, who had gone missing amidst the initial exchange of fire between the two sides on September 13 was recovered from the encounter site. Another charred body beyond recognition was found lying in the forested area on Monday, the officials said.

“Uzair Khan has been killed and his body has been retrieved. There is another body lying on the ground. We had information about the presence of two to three terrorists in the area,” Additional Director General of Police, Vijay Kumar, told reporters here. He added that the security forces may go for DNA sampling of two bodies beyond recognition.

The ADGP, however, also said that even as Khan who had been involved in or was the mastermind of a series of the terror attacks carried out by militants in the southern Kashmir in the recent past including the killing of three Army jawans in the Hallan forest area of Damhal Hanjipora area of the Kulgam district on August 4 will continue “till it is ensured that no more terrorists are hiding in the region.”

Mr. Kumar said, “The operation will go on for some more time. I urge the locals not to go closer to the encounter site as unexploded grenades or shells may cause harm to them.”

In the operation, one of the longest carried out against militants in J&K, apart from hundreds of men from different infantries of the Army, the counterinsurgency Special Operations Group (SOG) of the J&K police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the special forces of the Army’s Mountain Division trained for high-altitude warfare and their airborne counterparts from its Parachute Regiment have been taking part.

They have used latest weaponry and other equipment including combat helicopters, IAI Heron, a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle developed by the Malat division of Israel Aerospace Industries, Hexacopters , quad copters, RPGs, grenades and drone-fitted guns to track down the militants who were frequently changing locations, the police sources said.  

J&K’s DGP, Dilbagh Singh, had last week said that given the tough terrain and huge risks involved, the security forces were following “a proper plan to track down the terrorists” and, therefore, it was taking more time than expected to come to logical conclusion.

He and the commander of the Army’s Srinagar-base Chinar Corps Lt. Gen. Rajiv Ghai and other senior Army and J&K police officers spent quite some time in the area to oversee the operation.

On Saturday, Army's Northern Command chief Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi also visited the area to “review the operational situation near the site of the gunfight.”  “He was briefed by the ground commanders on the high-intensity operations, in which hi-tech equipment is being used for surveillance and delivery of firepower, along with the high impact of precision fire being used by the forces,” a defence spokesman had said here. End it

Late Tuesday, ADGP Vijay Kumar told reporters that the family of Muhammad Uzair Khan has identified one of the bodies recovered from the encounter site as that of their kin.

"The family members have identified LeT commander Uzair's body", he said.


Tags: lashkar-e-taiba, uzair khan