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An army official said the three militants belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed group and two of them were Pakistani nationals

In a major success, security forces on Monday night killed three militants including Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar’s nephew in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district, police said today. A soldier was also killed and two others were injured during an operation.

Police sources confirmed that Azhar’s nephew Talha Rashid was gunned down in Pulwama’s Aglar Kandi.

An army official said the three militants belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed group and two of them were Pakistani nationals.

The other two slain militants have been identified as Mehmood Bhai and Wasi Ahmed. Security forces had recovered US-made M4 rifle, one AK-47 and a pistol from the encounter site.

Major general BS Raju, general officer commanding (GOC) of the Army’s Victor Force  said the recovery of a US-made rifle meant for Pakistani army, after an encounter with militants in Kashmir, showed the force’s complicity in fuelling insurgency in the Valley.

“This weapon (the M4 carbine) is with the special forces of Pakistan army. So we have reasons to believe that this particular weapon was given by the Pakistani army to JeM cadres and this clearly shows the complicity between JeM and Pakistan and their nefarious designs in Kashmir,” Raju said.

A photo of a militant flaunting an M4 rifle had gone viral in Kashmiri social media circles last week.

Raju said this was not the only M4 rifle functional in the region, and that there could be 5–10 such weapons brought in by infiltrating militants. However, this is the first M4 carbine to be recovered in Kashmir.

In a press conference, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Muneer Khan said that Jaish-e-Muhammad has owned Talha Rasheed and therefore J&K police will request MHA to inform Pakistan to claim Talha’s body.

On Monday night security forces had laid cordon and search operation in the Kandi village following an information about presence of militants in that area. On finding  security forces nearing them, the militants fired on security personnel, triggering a gun battle which continued till late night. “The militants were holed up in two houses. They tried to flee in the darkness, but we managed to neutralise them,” the official told

A civilian, Showkat Ahmad was injured in a cross firing between security personnel and militants after locals came out to protest the encounter.

Meanwhile, Internet services were suspended in Pulwama district to stop the rumours from spreading.

Four security personnel have been killed in Pulwama in last four days during encounters.

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