As per official figures, 66 terrorists, including 20 foreigners, have been killed by security forces in Kashmir this year

Based on specific input about the presence of terrorists in Srichand Top forest area in Pahalgam area of Anantnag, security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation.

One of the most wanted and longest surviving commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit was among three terrorists killed in a gunfight with security forces in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Friday.

Police said 57-year-old Muhammad Ashraf Khan alias Moulvi was killed in a gunfight with a joint team of army’s 19-Rashtriya Rifles, paramilitary CRPF and J&K police in woods of Batkoot area of Pahalgam in Anantnag district.

“Ashraf Molvi (one of oldest surviving terrorist of HM terror outfit) along with two other terrorists killed. Successful operation on yatra route is a major #success for us,” Kashmir Zone Police tweeted.

The other two slain terrorists were identified as Roshan Zameer and Rafiq Ahmad, both locals.

Molvi, an A++ category terrorist from Anantnag, was active since 2013 and was instrumental in recruiting locals into the militancy, police said. Molvi was appointed as the operational chief if the Hizbul in May 2020 after the death of Riyaz Naikoo, who was killed by the security forces in a highly-sensitive counter-terrorism operation in Pulwama district.

His name had surfaced on August 2 last year in J&K Police’s list of top 10 terrorists that it aimed to target. Molvi, whom the police files describe as Hizbul “operational head, mastermind, planner and main recruiter” was at the sixth number on the most wanted list.