Three terrorists from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba were killed in Awantipora during an encounter with Jammu and Kashmir Police and security forces.
Mukhtar Ahmed Bhat and Saqlain Mushtaq of Pulwama were among those killed. Mushfiq, the third terrorist, was a Pakistani citizen.
The three terrorists, according to J&K Police, were planning a major terror attack near the national highway. Terrorists were found with an AK-74 assault rifle.
Mukhtar Ahmed Bhat, according to J&K Police, was a hardline commander of The Resistance Front, which was affiliated with the LeT. Bhat, a resident of Pulwama, went missing on April 18 after leaving his home under the guise of visiting his paternal aunt. Later investigations revealed that he had joined the TRF and was active in the Pulwama area.
Bhat worked for the TRF on the ground for many years before rising through the ranks to become commander. He was also involved in radicalising youth to take up arms against the country and engaging in activities that were detrimental to national security.
Bhat was instrumental in strengthening the Lashkar-e-Toiba-TRF in Pulwama’s Kakapora belt. He has intimidated Kashmiri Pandits, migrant labourers, and political activists in Pulwama, instilling fear in the community.
Mukhtar Bhat was involved in the May 13 murder of J&K police officer Riyaz Ahmed Thoker at his home in Gadoora, Pulwama. He was also involved in an attack on two migrant labourers in Ugergund, Pulwama, one of whom was seriously injured.
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