18 terrorists including Pulwama mastermind killed in encounter by Indian Army

The mastermind of the February 14 Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel was killed in an encounter in the Tral area of South Kashmir, the army reported today.

Lt Gen Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon said in a press conference that Mudasir Ahmed Khan alias ‘Mohd Bhai’ Khan was the conspirator the terror attack, as Inspector General SP Pani added that his death was a major dent to the JeM. The IG said one of the militants killed was identified as ‘Code Khalid’, believed to be a Pakistani.

The Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist killed in the encounter in south Kashmir’s Tral was a key-conspirator of the Pulwama terror attack.

A total of three Jaish terrorists were killed in the Tral encounter. “Jaish commander Mudassar Khan was among the terrorists killed in the encounter. He was the main conspirator of the Pulwama terror attack,” said Lt Gen KJS Dhillon, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps .

The Army also revealed that a total of 18 terrorists have been killed in the last 21 days since the Pulwama attack including Mudasir Khan who had put brain behind the terror attack on the Indian paramilitary forces.

Adil Ahmed Dar, who ran his the explosive-laden vehicle into a bus of CRPF convoy had been in constant contact with Khan.

Twenty-three-year-old Mudassar Khan is an electrician with a graduate degree. He is resident of Pulwama and arranged the vehicle and explosives used in the Pulwama attack.

The security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the area in Tral after receiving specific intelligence input about the presence of militants in the area which transformed into an encounter operation after the militants opened fire at the search party of the forces who retaliated.

Lesser-known JeM terrorist Khan was identified as the brains behind the audacious terror strike in Pulwama that left 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel dead on February 14, officials said on Sunday.

Piecing together evidence gathered so far, security officials said that 23-year-old Khan, an electrician with a graduate degree and a resident of Pulwama, arranged the vehicle and explosives used in the terror strike.

A resident of Mir Mohalla of Tral, Khan joined the JeM sometime in 2017 as an overground worker and was later drawn into the terror outfit by Noor Mohammed Tantrey, alias ‘Noor Trali’, who is believed to have helped the terror group’s revival in the Kashmir Valley.

After Tantray was killed in December 2017, Khan disappeared from his home on January 14, 2018, and has been active since then.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the February 14 terror attack, had carried out searches at the residence of Khan on February 27.

The JeM operative, identified as Sajjad Bhat, a resident of Bijbehara in south Kashmir, has since been on the run and is believed to have become an active militant now, they said.

The JeM is an anti-India, anti-Shia Deobandi group founded in 2000 by Masood Azhar as an offshoot of the militant group Harakat-ul-Mujahideen. It operates – openly – out of Bahawalpur, in Pakistan’s Punjab province, from its Markaz Usman-o-Ali headquarters. The group has a love-hate relationship with the Pakistani Army but has a confluence of views with the army on India.

Another mastermind of the horrific terror attack in Pulwama had been eliminated by the security forces in an encounter four days after the attack.

Kamran alias Ghazi Rasheed was cornered by security forces along with two more terrorists in an encounter that started in the wee hours of Monday. A joint team of Indian Army’s 55 Rashtriya Rifles, CRPF and Special Operation Group launched a cordon in the wee hours on February 18.

Diplomatically, India is trying to isolate Pakistan along with garnering support for counter-terrorism measures against the Pakistan based terrorist outfits.

Indeed, Modi’s government has shown the willingness and ability to pursue militant targets across India’s territorial borders. In June 2015, it authorized a cross-border assault against militant camps in Myanmar in response to an attack on an Indian Army convoy earlier that month.

When militants, also from JeM, carried out an attack on Indian Army camp in Uri in 2016, the government initiated special forces operation across the Line of Control against terrorist launch pads causing harm to the JeM.

The country is in the middle of a gruelling election campaign season. Any cross-border terrorist operations against the Indian army or the civilians will imbibe strong sentiments from the people with chances of a second term escalating for the PM Narendra Modi.

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