Top Al Badr commander killed in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Dec 3 (UNI) A top commander of the Al Badr militant outfit was killed in a 24-hour-long fierce gun-battle with security forces at Beerwah in central Kashmir district of Badgam today, police said.

They said police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel launched a joint operation at Aarth Beerwah in Badgam district last evening following specific information about presence of militants in a particular house.

As the security forces zeroed in on the house, the militants fired upon them with automatic weapons from inside the house. The fire was retaliated by the security forces, triggering a fierce gunfight with holed up militants, police added.

While the operation was suspended for the night, the cordon continued throughout. With the first light this morning, security forces tried to clear the area and were again fired upon by the holed up militants, they said.

The fire was returned and in the ensuing gunfight, a divisional commander of the Al Badr outfit, Bilal Afghani alias Chota Bilal, was gunned down. One AK rifle and one UBGL were also seized from the encounter site, police added.

Police claimed that Bilal, one of the most wanted ''A'' category militants, was active in a vast area between Beerwah, Soibugh and Bandipora since the past eight years.

They further claimed that Bilal was involved in several attacks on police and security forces besides killings of many innocent civilians, including a Tangmarg Councillor.


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