Top HM commander arrested in Kashmir after fierce encounter

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Srinagar, Jul 11(UNI) The Special Operation Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir police and 30 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), in a joint operation arrested a top commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) after a fierce encounter in north Kashmir, a police spokesman said today.

He said the SOG, with the assistance of the RR, launched a joint operation at Lach forest in Handwara tehsil of Kupwara district this morning following a tip-off that militants were hiding there.

When the security forces were sealing of the area, the militants opened fire. The fire was returned and the exchange continued for several hours.

The spokesman he said, security forces overpowered one of the militants when he tried to escape from the cordoned-off area. One AK rifle, five magazines, 150 rounds of ammunition, four Chinese grenades, one pouch and one identity card was recovered from his possession.

He said the militant was later identified as Ali Mohammad Khan alias Showkat, Deputy District Commander of the HM.

A 'B' category militant had crossed over to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) in 2000 and returned after four years training, the spokesman said.

He added the most wanted Ali had managed to escape during several cordon and search operations in north Kashmir. He had received six bullets in one of the encounters, the spokesman said, adding he was involved in a number of militancy-related incidents in Kupwara district.

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