13 August, 2017
In a major development, Hizbul Mujahideen's operational commander in Kashmir Yasin Yatoo alias Mehmood Ghaznavi was killed along with two other militants in a 16 hour-long gunfight in Anweera village of Shopian district on Sunday. Over a dozen civilians were injured as the security forces fired live ammunition to quell the stone-pelting mobs.
Police in a statement said that the three Hizb terrorists were killed in an encounter with the security forces at Awneera village of Zainapora Shopian.
Earlier, the third militant was believed to be Adil Malik.
Yatoo was a resident of Chadoora in Budgam district and had joined militancy in the year 1997.
Itoo was Hizbul Mujahideen's operations commander in the region. Three AK-47 rifles were recovered from their possession.
The security forces have launched "Operation all-out" against militants across the Kashmir Valley.
Jammu and Kashmir police chief S.P. Vaid tweeted on the success: "One of terrorists killed today morning at Shopian is identified as Yasin Itoo; operational commander of Hizbul Mujahideen". In a solemn ceremony at BB Cantt, Lt Gen JS Sandhu, Chinar Corps Commander and all ranks, paid homage to the martyrs, as did representatives and officials from the state government and other security agencies.
Five soldiers were injured in the gunfight on Saturday night and had to be evacuated to 92 Base Hospital of the Army for treatment. Among the injured, two army personnel succumbed to their injuries. Fearing large scale protests against the killings, the authorities in South Kashmir, have suspended internet services in Shopian and Kulgam to prevent spreading of information about the encounter.
In another incident, three security personnel, including two policemen and an army soldier, sustained injuries when militants fired at a cordon laying party in Hajin area of Bandipora district on Sunday. A cordon was laid to ensure Itoo has no escape plan.