SRINAGAR, Aug 14 : In a huge blow to Hizbul Mujahideen, its operational commander Yasin Itoo alias ‘Ghaznavi’ was killed with two of his cohorts in an encounter in Kashmir’s Shopian district on Sunday.
Kashmir range IGP Muneer Khan confirmed the killing of Yasin, who had succeeded Zakir Musa after the latter was expelled by Syed Salahuddin, the supreme commander of the terror outfit, for claiming allegiance to al-Qaida.
Musa had succeeded Burhan Wani after his encounter killing in July 2016. After Musa’s “expulsion”, Sabzar Bhatt briefly led the Hizbul pack until his killing, after which Yasin became the operational commander.
Riyaz Naikoo is believed to be the other top Hizb commander.Yasin was killed as the encounter, that began on Saturday, entered the second day at Awneera village in Shopian. Two security personnel were killed late on Saturday.
Firing began when security forces launched an operation against terrorists who had gathered in the village. While some terrorists escaped, three including Yasin were holed-up in a house next to a mosque. They were eventually killed by security forces and arms and ammunition recovered from the encounter site.