J&K: Burhan Wani's successor and Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Ahmad Bhat killed in Tral encounter

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Security forces dealt a major blow to Hizbul Mujhadeen on Saturday when they killed one of the most wanted commanders Sabzar Ahmad Bhat along with his aide at Saimoo village in Tral area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Elsewhere, the army foiled a major infiltration bid and killed six militants on the Line of Control in Rampur sector of Uri in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

Bhat, who was the successor of Hizbul Mujhadeen leader Burhan Wani, was gunned down after security forces launched an operation in the Samoo village on Friday night.

The encounter broke out after militants fired at the army patrol before fleeing from the spot. Security forces immediately cordoned off the whole area and sealed all the entry and exit points and started the operation. “Encounter started at Saimu Tral district. Reportedly three terrorists trapped,” tweeted Dr SP Vaid, director general of police, Jammu and Kashmir.

On Saturday morning, when security forces resumed the operation and were moving towards the target, they came under heavy fire from the militants. In the ensuing gun fight, two militants were killed. One of them has been identified as Sabzar Ahmad Bhat.

Unlike his mentor Burhan, Bhat hailed from a poor family of Rathsuna village in Tral. He was a village boy who was radicalized before he joined the militants and rose from the ranks to become Burhan’s close aide. He, along with Zakir Musa, were touted to be two close lieutenants and advisors of Burhan Wani before he was gunned down on July 8 2016 in Bamdoora village of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

Violent protests rocked several areas in and around the Saimoo village where Sabzar was gunned down. People have resorted to massive stone pelting on the security forces in several villages of Tral area. Police sources said the situation is tense but under control.

In another operation, the army foiled a major infiltration bid when they killed six militants in in Rampur sector on Friday night. This is the second bid in Uri sector in the last 24 hours. On Friday, two BAT militants were killed in Uri sector.
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