Kupwara Shootout: Slain Hizb militants were main recruiters in north Kashmir, says Army

Kupwara Shootout: Slain Hizb militants were main recruiters in north Kashmir, says Army
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Srinagar, Aug 3: Army on Friday said that militants killed in a shootout at Khumriyal area of Kupwara on Thursday were the main recruiters in north Kashmir.
Addressing a press conference at Cherkote army headquarters said, Sector Commander 8 Kilo Force Mohit Trivedi said the slain (Hizb) militants – Zahoor Ahmad Mir and Bilal Ahmad Shah – were making grounds and recruiting new youth in militant ranks.
Both the militants were backbone of Hizb Ul Mujahideen group and were expanding more support and ground for the outfit, he said.
“They were active for a long time now; both belonged to Lolab side and were well aware about the geographical map of this area,” the army commander said.
Trivedi said the slain militants were involved in rifle snatching incident that took place on Tuesday afternoon in the native village of one of the slain Bilal Ahmad Shah.
“Manan Wani, one of the main assets of HM (Hizb Ul Mujahideen) from Lolab is active, but the two main members of the outfit have been eliminated,” Trivedi told reporters and termed the killing of both militants as a “huge success”.
“Being a local, it invokes more youth to join,” he said.
Divulging details, the commander said, “On specific intelligence inputs from Kupwara police, a mobile vehicle check point was laid at Khumriyal. On reaching the spot, the suspected car was intercepted, and within the vehicle, the hiding militants fired upon the security forces triggering off an encounter.”
“The driver of that particular vehicle is absconding, we have recovered the vehicle and the investigation into the case will reveal the involvement of car owner/driver,” he said.
Meanwhile, police has said it has launched searches at multiple areas of Lolab to trace out the third militant who was driving the car.
“Search operation was launched at multiple places to trace out the fleeing militant,” a police officer said.
“A joint naka was laid by the SOG and army headed by SP Operations Shafqat Hussain following the specific inputs about the movement of the militants through the area,” he said.
Police also claimed to have recovered the INAS rifle which the militants had snatched from a policeman at Kandhar area of Maidanpora, Lolab on Tuesday. (GNS)