In a major success for security forces, the chief of the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH) outfit Imtiaz Ahmad Shah was among seven terrorists killed in two separate encounters on Friday in south Kashmir.

Four Army soldiers have been injured in these encounters. The killed terrorists were of mixed group of outfits with 2 each belonging to Lashkar-eToiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and one to AGH.

They were involved in civilian killings and other crimes, police said.

J&K DGP Dilbag Singh described neutralization of Imtiaz as a major achievement and said that the AGH has been wiped out in Kashmir with killing of the seven terrorists. AGH is a radical group which is an affiliate of AlQaeda and was trying to penetrate in south Kashmir before beginning of the Amarnath pilgrimage.

IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar and GOC 15 Corps Lt. General DP Pandey told media persons after the encounter that “we will ensure full-proof security during the Amarnath pilgrimage”.

A total five terrorists were killed in Shopian where the encounter started on Thursday night when three terrorists were neutralized and two more were shot down this morning.

Two terrorists were killed in another encounter at Tral of the Pulwama district where they escaped from Shopian. 7 AK-47 rifles and 2 pistols were among the recovered arms and ammunition. A joint operation by the Army, CRPF and police was launched Friday early morning based on intelligence inputs from J&K Police at Naibugh, Tral area of Awantipora.

The area was cordoned and contact established with the terrorists who initiated firing at the security forces. Police said that during the overnight encounter two terrorists took shelter in a mosque in Shopian Brother of holed up terrorist & local Imam were sent inside the mosque to persuade the terrorists to come out & surrender.

Efforts were made to save the mosque and no explosives or rocket launchers were fired to neutralize the terrorists, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar said.

However the holed up terrorists refused to surrender and resorted to firing at the security forces. He said tear smoke shells were fired to flush out the terrorists so that the mosque was not seriously damaged.

He said that two terrorists managed to escape during the initial encounter, but they were eventually chased and killed in Pulwama’s Tral area this morning.