J&K: Yasin Itoo, Burhan Wani successor, killed in encounter
In a big boost for security forces, Yasin Itoo alias 'Ghaznavi', who was fulfilling slain terrorist Burhan Wani's role as Hizbul Mujahideen commander, was killed in an encounter in J&K's Shopian yesterday. Two cohorts of him- Umer Majeed Mir (Kulgam) and Irfan-ul-Haq (Maldara Zainapora)- were also neutralized. Earlier, two army personnel were killed in the gunfight at Awneera village that began on Saturday.
The Hizbul story post-Wani
Wani was succeeded by Zakir Musa, who eventually shifted to the al-Qaeda when the Hizbul rejected his pan-Islamic agenda and call to implement Sharia in Kashmir. He's now al-Qaeda's India chief. Sabzar Bhat then stepped in, but he was soon killed in an encounter. Yasin then replaced Bhat. Jailed terrorist Qasim Faktoo termed Yasin's killing a huge loss to the "movement".
Yasin feigned his death for months last year
Yasin first joined the Hizbul in 1996. He left more than once, either by surrendering or getting arrested. Everytime, he returned to the outfit. Sometime in 2016, he went missing. A Hizbul statement said he fell from a mountain while on "operational duties". But forces believe he had a major role to play in the 2016 unrest. He also took care of recruitment.
Meanwhile, clashes at the Shopian encounter site
Two army personnel, identified as Sepoy Ilayaraja P and Sepoy Gawai Sumedh, were killed and three injured in the encounter earlier. During and following the encounter, seven civilians reportedly sustained pellet injuries when locals clashed with forces to break the cordon around Awneera. According to official figures, 132 terrorists have been killed in J&K encounters this year, including LeT's Abu Dujana.