In an ongoing shootout in the Malwan area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, police claimed to have killed top LeT terrorist commander Yousuf Kantroo on Thursday.
Yousuf Kantroo, the longest-surviving commander of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) organisation and one of Kashmir’s most wanted terrorists, was killed in an encounter with security forces in north Kashmir’s Baramulla region.
“Top LeT #terrorist Commander Yousuf Kantroo killed in #Baramulla #encounter. He was involved in several #killings of civilians & SFs personnel including the recent killing of JKP’s SPO & his brother, one Soldier and one civilian in #Budgam district. A big success for us: IGP Kashmir,” Kashmir Zone Police tweeted.
According to the authorities, Kantroo, alias Issah, had been linked to militancy since 2000 and had resurfaced twice in the last two decades. In 2017, he resurfaced and got linked with the LeT.
On August 2 of last year, his name appeared on a J&K police list of the top 10 terrorists to be targeted. Kantroo was ranked second on the most wanted list, according to police files, as Lashkar’s “operational head, mastermind, planner, and a key recruiter from (central Kashmir’s) Budgam.”
Two more LeT militants were killed in the gunfire
According to reports, two more LeT militants were killed in the clash, which erupted after a joint team of J&K police, Army, and CRPF launched a cordon-and-search operation (CASO) in the Malwan area near Kunzer in Baramulla between Wednesday and Thursday night in response to a tip-off about the presence of militants.
According to police, the killed militant was involved in the death of an SPO and his brother, as well as a soldier and a civilian, in Budgam, central Kashmir.
As security officers neared the likely location, the hiding militants opened fire on the search team, which reacted, sparking a shootout, according to authorities. Three troops and a civilian were also hurt in the initial exchange of fire.
While the restive south Kashmir has remained a hub of militancy for the past half-decade, security services are also concerned about the north of the Valley following the abrogation of J&K’s special status on August 5, 2019.
According to police sources, some foreign terrorists are now operating in the north Kashmir districts of Baramulla, Kupwara, and Bandipora.
In Kashmir, the number of foreign terrorists is also increasing, with the local-to-foreigner ratio approaching 50:50. According to Army estimates, 79 of the 156 terrorists active in Kashmir valley are locals, while the remaining 77 are outsiders, mostly Pakistanis.
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