Srinagar: Security forces on Wednesday killed top militant and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander in an hours long gunfight in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, officials said.
Two of Niakoo’s associates were also killed in the gun-battle. Categorized as A+++ rank militant, Naikoo carried a cash reward of Rs 12 lakh on his head.
Jammu and Kashmir police termed top militant’s killing as a major success.
A well thought out operation to eliminate Naikoo was launched Tuesday night in Beighpora area of Pulwama – his native village following intelligence inputs about the presence of militants in the area.
“Naikoo was eliminated along with two of his aides in the gunfight. His killing is a major success for security forces” said a top police official.
Active since 2012, mostly in south Kashmir – a hotbed of militancy- Naikoo, a former math teacher, was the longest surviving militant in Kashmir, according to security officials
Wednesday’s operation in which Naikoo and his associates were killed comes just a few days after militants killed eight security personnel including an Army Colonel, Major and a police officer in two separate attacks in north Kashmir’s Handwara.
Authorities snapped internet and mobile phone service (barring BSNL postpaid) service following the gunfight.
Naikoo became operational commander of Hizbul Mujahideen in 2017 after Yasin Itoo, who headed the militant group for years was killed in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
Naikoo-led Hizb militants allegedly kidnapped 11 family members of policemen in 2018, prompting police to release his father Asadullah Naikoo from their custody.
Eaelier police had picked Asadullah from his Awantipora home in south Kashmir, a day after militants had killed four policemen in Shopian. In an audio message, Riyaz had warned the police of dangerous consequences if the relatives of militants were not released.