Giving a major jolt to terror group Hizbul Mujahideen, Indian forces on Sunday gunned down Yasin Itoo alias Mehmood Ghaznavi, a self-styled operations commander of the terror group, PTI reported. The killing of Itoo is being hailed as a major success for forces due to former’s long association and seniority in the terror group. As per PTI, Itoo was involved in keeping alive the prolonged unrest of 2016 following the killing of group’s commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces. The terrorist was also a key part of recruitment team of the group. Indianexpress.com reports that Itoo was the successor Wani. Itoo, often called a ‘vintage militant’, had joined Hizbul Mujahideen in 1996. The terrorist had surrendered in 2007 and was later released on parole in 2014. However, he again joined the militant group again and was its self-styled chief operations commander.
Indianexpress.com reports that after his release in 2015, he went missing and a Hizb statement declared he is dead. In a statement, Hizb Chief Salah-ud-din said that Itoo was killed when he fell from a mountain while being on “operational duties”. His funeral of absentia was offered at his Nagam residence.
Security forces had laid a cordon in the area following a tip-off to the local police. As the security personnel approached, Itoo and his men opened fire, wounding five Army personnel, two of whom were later martyred. The firing from terrorists prompted the security forces to wait until dawn while keeping a tight cordon around the area before launching a major strike. Later, all the three terrorists were successfully gunned down by the forces. The injured were taken to 92 Base Hospital of the Army for treatment.
The two martyred were identified as Sepoy Ilayaraja P, a resident of Tamil Nadu, and Sepoy Gawai Sumedh Waman from Maharashtra. One Kevyt Konekivaan (KK) series rifle, reportedly used by Itoo, and two AK series rifles were recovered from the encounter scene.