Srinagar: Authorities on Friday claimed that four militants killed in a gunfight with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s southern Anantnag district could be affiliated to the Islamic State (ISIS).
DGP Shesh Paul Vaid said it was a big breakthrough against the militants. Asked if the slain men were ISIS members, as claimed by another senior security forces officer, he told this newspaper: “They were inspired by the ideology of the IS online”. Mr Vaid had earlier tweeted: “Terrorists reportedly affiliated to ISJK (Islamic State Jammu Kashmir) killed.”
One policeman and a civilian were also killed in the clash, raising the toll to six, whereas several people were injured in clashes with the security forces near the encounter site in Khiram village of the Srigufwara area of Anantnag.
The officials said the fighting erupted at 5.30 am and continued for several hours. It was the second such clash between militants and security forces since the Centre called off the Ramzan ceasefire.
A police spokesman said pursuing “credible leads” about the presence of militants in the Khiram area, a cordon-and-search operation was launched by a joint team of the Army, CRPF and J&K police’s Special Operations Group around dawn on Friday.
“As the joint patrol made an advance towards the suspected house, terrorists hiding inside fired indiscriminately on the security forces, due to which a policeman Ashiq Hussain and a civilian identified as Muhammad Yousuf Rather, aged 53, a resident of Nowshahar Khiram, were hit and later succumbed to their injuries,” he said.
The police identified the slain militants as Dawood Ahmed Sofi, Majid Manzoor Dar, Aadil Rehman Bhat and Muhammad Ashraf Itoo. The officials believed 33-year-old Dawood Sofi alias Dawood Salfi alias Burhan, a resident of Srinagar’s Zainakote area, was the chief of “ISJK”.