Three terrorists of Pakistan-proscribed Lashkar-e-Toiba were gunned down in an encounter with the Jammu and Kashmir Police and security forces in Awantipora.
The terrorists killed include Mukhtar Ahmed Bhat and Saqlain Mushtaq of Pulwama. The third terrorist Mushfiq was a resident of Pakistan.
According to J&K Police, the three terrorists were planning a major terror attack around the national highway. An AK-74 assault rifle was recovered from the terrorists.
According to J&K Police, Mukhtar Ahmed Bhat was a hardcore commander of The Resistance Front affiliated to LeT. A resident of Pulwama, Bhat had gone missing when he left his home on April 18 on pretext of visiting his paternal aunt. Later on, investigations found that he joined TRF and was active around Pulwama.
Bhat was an overground worker of the TRF for many years before rising through the ranks to become the commander. He was also involved in radicalising the youth to take up arms against the country and conducted activities inimical to the security of the nation.
Bhat played an instrumental role in strengthening Lashkar-e-Toiba-TRF in Kakapora belt of Pulwama. He has been involved in acts of intimidation of Kashmiri Pandits, migrant labours and political activists in Pulwama, creating fear among the community.
Mukhtar Bhat was involved in the killing of J&K policeman Riyaz Ahmed Thoker at his residence in Gadoora, Pulwama on May 13 this year. He was also involved in the attack on two migrant labourers in Ugergund in Pulwama town, one of which was severely injured.
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