2 Jaish men killed in south Kashmir; slain Jammu fidayeen duo may be Afghanis

SRINAGAR: Security forces gunned down a Pakistani terrorist and a local operative of the Jaish-e-Mohammad group within hours of each other in a shootout in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Saturday, while two more members of the outlawed Pakistan-backed outfit were holding out in a house where their associates were killed.
The operation in Kulgam’s Mirhama area followed the killing of two Pashto-speaking fidayeen terrorists of JeM and the death of a CISF assistant sub-inspector in a gunfight after an ambush on a paramilitary bus early Friday near Sunjuwan military camp, 8km from Jammu city.
The duo slain near Sunjuwan was heard speaking only Pashto, which means they were either from Afghanistan or Pakistan’s volatile Khyber Pakhtunkhwa belt where the language is widely spoken, Jammu range additional DGP Mukesh Singh said on Saturday.
The findings were significant for the security apparatus in J&K as it was feared that Afghan mercenaries and ISIS-backed terrorists might enter the Union territory after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan when US-led Western troops pulled out of the war-ravaged country last year.
Singh said investigators found from CCTV footage that the two terrorists on a suicide mission travelled from Jammu’s frontier district of Samba to Sunjuwan on a lorry carrying vegetables with a Kashmiri Jaish operative from Kokernag, identified as Bilal Ahmed Wagay.
It was also found that a Jaish commander, identified by the codename Veer, was in touch through the Telegram app with brothers Shafiq and Asif Ahmed from Tral in Pulwama district who worked in a walnut processing unit at Narwal, close to the Sunjuwan camp, the additional DGP said. “Another youth named Iqbal from Kulgam district is suspected to have helped the terrorists too,” he said.
Shafiq and Iqbal were arrested on Saturday, while Wagay is on the run. Singh said Shafiq told police that the terrorists could not speak Urdu, Hindi, or English, but only Pashto. “The JeM commander had informed Wagay and Shafiq that they have to receive the duo in Jammu.”
The duo was on a mission to carry out a massive strike in Jammu to sabotage PM Narendra Modi’s scheduled public event in Samba, where he will address the nation on Panchayati Raj Diwas on Sunday and announce projects for J&K.

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