Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh on Monday said that a top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander and his associate were killed in an encounter in Srinagar, The Kashmir Monitor reported.

He said that Lashkar commander has been identified as Saifullah, who was from Pakistan and has been involved in a series of attacks on security forces, including in Pampore, Chadoora, Nowgam and Kandizaal.

Earlier in the day, security forces launched a search and cordon operation in the Old Barzulla area of the city after receiving inputs about the presence of militants in the area, PTI reported, citing an official. He said the militants, now identified as the Lashkar commander and his aide, fired upon the security forces at 7.45 am during the search operation. The forces retaliated, leading to a gunfight, the official added.

At a press briefing, Singh said 75 anti-militancy operations were conducted so far, resulting in the death of 180 militants. “Today’s operation was a successful one,” Singh said. “All the operations against militants conducted this year were clean and conducted in a professional manner.”

He added that except for one operation in the Batamaloo area of Srinagar, where a woman died due to cross-firing, the security forces conducted all operations cleanly.

The police chief also said that the security forces undertook eight operations in Srinagar this year, where 18 militants including a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander were killed. “Whenever any militant outfit tries to establish its base in Srinagar, we successfully corner the militant with the help of our intelligence and other sources,” he added.

Singh said only one militant was active in Srinagar, who was involved in a couple of attacks. On number of security forces personnel killed in the year, Singh said that 19 police officers were killed and the Central Reserve Police Force lost 21 men. He added that 15 Indian Army personnel died and the majority of them were killed at the Line of Control.

The police chief also said that 26 youths, who had joined the militancy, were brought back to their families.

Past gunfights

On October 10, another Lashkar-e-Taiba commander and three suspected militants were killed in two separate gunfights with security forces in Pulwama and Kulgam districts.

Security forces had on October 7 killed three militants in the Sugan Zainapora area of Shopian district. Three more militants were killed in the Pampore area of Pulwama district on October 5. Two Central Reserve Police Force also died in the gunfight.

Two militants were killed on September 27 in a gunfight with security forces in Samboora village of Pampore in Pulwama district. Two army personnel had sustained injuries in the gunfight. Two Lashkar-e-Taiba commanders were killed in a night-long encounter on September 25 in Anantnag district.

On September 24, an unidentified militant was killed in a gunfight with security forces in the district. The security forces had killed another militant in an overnight encounter in the Charar-e-Sharif area of Budgam district on September 23.

On August 29, three suspected militants and one soldier were killed in a gunfight in the Zadoora area of Pulwama district.