Budgam (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], August 11 (ANI): Three hardcore Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists were neutralised in a joint cordon and search operation that was launched in the Budgam area by the Indian Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police on the night of August 9, officials said on Thursday.
The search operation was carried out together by the Army, Jammu and Kashmir Police and intelligence agencies based on specific information regarding the presence of self-styled LeT Commander Lateef Ah Rather along with associates in Watrahel village, Budgam.
The security forces established an initial cordon around the suspected cluster of houses in the village, which was subsequently strengthened by covering all possible escape routes.
"After confirming the presence of two to three terrorists hiding in one of the houses, the Security Forces started evacuating the civilians in the vicinity, to a safe location. As the civilians were being moved, the terrorists opened indiscriminate fire and hurled grenades. Own troops returned accurately and sustained fire, but in order to mitigate casualties to the civilians, the search party stopped engaging the terrorists and prioritised the evacuation of civilians out of the danger zone, while keeping terrorists under observation," read a statement.
On positive confirmation of evacuation of civilians around the target house, own troops re-established contact with the terrorists, utilising well-rehearsed battle drills and accurate fire.
The operation lasted for over 18 hours and subsequently resulted in the neutralisation of three hard-core terrorists. Own troops commenced a search of the area and recovered two AK series Rifles, two Pistols and other warlike stores from the encounter site.
"The three neutralised terrorists belonged to LeT and they have been identified by JKP as Lateef Ah Rather, resident of Badipora, Chadoora, Budgam, Saqib Ah Khan, resident of Khunmoh, Srinagar and Muzzafar Ah Chopan, resident of Khunmoh, Srinagar," the statement added.
As per JKP, Lateef Ah Rather was involved in various civilian atrocities including the killing of Rahul Bhatt and Amrina Bhatt earlier this year.
The terrorist was also involved in attacks on Security Forces including the brutal killing of Police SHO Shabir Ah at Chadoora market in 2013. He was also the mastermind behind a number of recent terrorist recruitment drives. Saqib Ah Khan was also involved in the killing of Sameer Ah, Sarpanch from Khunmoh and Amrina Bhatt and was active in recruiting youth to terror outfits.. (ANI)