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Lashkar-e-Taiba’s top commander Abu Maaz and his aide were killed in an encounter by the security forces in Budgam today (Wednesday, Feb 13), police said.

A brief exchange of fire occurred between security forces and terrorists in Gopal Pora area of Budgam district. The forces had received information about the presence of militants in the area after which it was cordoned off.

Yesterday, one terrorist identified as Hilal Ahmad Rather was shot dead by the security forces in Ratnipora village of Pulwama district.

Rather had also played a big role in the escape of Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Naveed Jatt from SMHS hospital last year during which two policemen were also killed. Jatt was killed by the forces last year in November.

He was also named by the investigative agencies for the murder of Rising Kashmir editor Shujhaat Bukhari.

Many operations were launched by the security forces to nab Jatt but he always managed to escape due to support from the locals who helped him in finding safe passage. As per the media inputs, he was planning to resurrect militancy in south Kashmir and was on the radar of security forces from a long time.

One soldier injured in the gunfight later succumbed to injuries while two soldiers received minor injuries. According to local media reports, seven civilian protesters who were stone pelting at the security forces were also injured.

Arms and ammunition were recovered from the site.

Rather was affiliated to Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul later paid tribute to the slain terrorist.

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