Zeenatul Islam, one of the topmost wanted militant commanders, has been killed along with his associate in an encounter with security forces in southern Kulgam district on Saturday.
A resident of Sugan village in Shopian district, Zeenat took up arms in 2015 and joined Hizbul Mujahideen. He worked closely with Hizb’s top commanders Burhan Wani, Saddam Paddar and Bilal Mohand, and was known as IED expert among his fellow militants.
He rose to the rank of operational commander in his group.
After the death of Saddam and Bilal in May last year, Zeenat changed side and joined Al Badre Mujahideen. He included among three most wanted militants in Kashmir–Zakir Musa, Riyaz Naik being the other two.
Zeenat was trapped in a hideout at Kathpora village near Yaripora in Kulgam district this afternoon during a search and cordon operation. Sources said that army’s 34-RR, CRPF and SOG launched operation following a tip off about the presence of militants in the village.
A fierce gunfight occurred when security forces zeroed in on the militant hideout.
One soldier was injured who reported succumbed to his injuries.
Two militants were killed in the operation. One of the slain militants has been identified as Zeenatul Islami.
Though his killing is yet to be confirmed official but reports said that his father was contacted by army authorities to persuade his son to surrender.
Tension has gripped the encounter area with hundreds of residents from the nearby villages swarming at the encounter site protesting the death of the Al Badre commander.
Authorities have suspended the internet service in the south Kashmir.
Zeenat had earlier survived in a security forces operation in his home village Sugan on April 1, 2018 in which seven militants were killed.