Jash-e-Mohammed Terrorist Mohommad Usman

Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed suffered a major setback on Tuesday when security forces busted their snipping module and killed two of their top commanders including the nephew of its chief commander and Pathankote attack mastermind Moulana Masood Azhar in Chankitar area of Tral in South Kashmir district of Pulwama.

Jash-e-Mohammed identified one of the slain terrorist as Mohommad Usman, who is the nephew of Masood Azhar. In a statement to local news agency, the outfit identified the second slain as Showkat Ahmad.

Police said a cordon and search operation was launched by security forces based on credible inputs about the presence of terrorists in the area. "During the search operation, the hiding terrorists fired on the search party which was retaliated leading to an encounter. Two dead bodies of the terrorists have been recovered so far", said a police spokesman.

Sources said the duo were part of the snipping module that was involved in recent standoff attacks on the security forces. There have been at least three snipping attacks on the security forces in Kashmir and latest being the killing of the Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) in Srinagar on Friday night. Sources said security forces have also recovered US made state of the art M4 carbine which was used to snipe at the security personnel.

Meanwhile, police have also issued a fresh advisory urging citizens 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 sanitised and cleared of all the explosives materials if any", the spokesman said.

The encounter comes a day after terrorists attacked a Border Security Force (BSF) vehicle injuring five soldiers at Pantha Chowk in Srinagar outskirts.

With this encounter the death toll terrorists since last one week has climbed to 12. Of whom six terrorists were killed in two different operations in North and South Kashmir on Thursday. On Wednesday, two Hizbul Mujhadeen terrorists including scholar turned terrorist were killed in an encounter at Nowgam in Srinagar outskirts. Four soldiers were also killed in different incidents last week.