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Pulwama attack avenged: Mastermind gunned down by security forces

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Srinagar, Mar 11: The mastermind of the February 14 Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel is believed to have been killed in an encounter in the Tral area of South Kashmir, officials said on Monday.

The encounter in Pinglish area of Tral in south Kashmir's Pulwama district lasted past midnight in which Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) terrorist Mudasir Ahmed Khan alias 'Mohd Bhai' was among the three terrorists killed, the officials said.

Pulwama attack avenged: Mastermind gunned down by security forces

An official note said, it is further informed that one of the two killed terrorists has been identified as Mudasir Ahmad Khan son of Farooq Ahmad Khan resident of Midoora Tral .The incriminating material recovered from the site of encounter, it is understood that the other killed terrorist was a Pakistani national codenamed Khalid. Search in the area is still underway.

Also Read | The 23-year-old electrician behind the Pulwama attack

According to the police records, both the killed terrorists were affiliated with proscribed terror outfit JeM and were wanted by law for their complicity in a series of terror crimes including attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities. Many terror crime cases were registered against them.

Moreover both terrorists were involved in planning and executing several terror attacks in the area particularly Mudasir who was involved in Case FIR No 150/2018 pertaining to attack on CRPF camp in Lethpora last year and Case FIR No 08/2018 under section 18,19,20 ULAP Act. Pertinently thr investigation so far conducted revealed that Mudasir was one of the key conspirators of the recent Pulwama NH convoy attack.

Arms and ammunition including assault rifles were recovered from the site of encounter. All these materials have been taken in the case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other terror cases.

Citizens are once again requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any.

The security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Pinglish after receiving specific intelligence input about the presence of terrorists in the area.

The operation turned into an encounter after the terrorists opened fire at the search party of the forces who retaliated.

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

Also Read | Tailed, photographed, how Indian diplomats bear the brunt of strained ties with Pak

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.

Suicide attacker Adil Ahmed Dar + , who blew his explosive-laden vehicle next to a bus in a CRPF convoy on February 14, had been in constant contact with Khan, officials said.

After completing his graduation, Khan did a one-year diploma course as electrician from an Industrial Training Institute (ITI). The eldest son of a labourer, Khan is also believed to be involved in the terror strike at the army camp in Sunjawan in February 2018, in which six personnel and a civilian were killed.

His role has also come under lens in the Lethpora attack on a CRPF camp in January 2018 that left five CRPF personnel dead.

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.

A Maruti Eeco minivan was used in the Pulwama terror attack and it was bought by another JeM operative just 10 days before the suicide attack.

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 terrorist now, they said.

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