NEW DELHI: A top Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist, Khalid, was killed by the security forces today in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla. He was believed to have plotted a series of suicide attacks in Kashmir, including one last week near the Srinagar airport, in which a soldier was killed.
The state’s police call the killing a major success in their anti-terror fight, likening it to taking away the “eyes and ears” of the Pakistan-based Jaish, which has become the biggest security challenge in Kashmir.
“He was one the oldest surviving foreign terrorists operating in Kashmir. He had been here since 2009 and knew about everything in Kashmir,” said senior police officer Munir Ahmad Khan.
Sources say Khalid’s visit to a girlfriend helped the forces track him down and kill him. A woman he was romantically involved with told the police that he was likely to visit her this morning. She angrily referred to him as “jahannum” (Hell).
Reports say Khalid was intercepted by the Special Operations Group at Ladoora. He was carrying a pistol and a grenade, said the police.
Khalid, trained in Pakistan, was tasked with receiving terrorists who crossed over to India and deploying them for suicide attacks. He mentored a group of 12 terrorists who crossed over recently for various attacks and acted as their commander. He was active mainly in Sopore in north Kashmir, the police said. He is believed to have planned the attack on the district police lines in Pulwama a month ago, in which four paramilitary personnel and four cops were killed.
Khalid’s name surfaced a year ago, when the army found a Jaish module in Baramulla. The army and the police believed that the unit headed by Khalid was responsible for the attack on an army convoy in Baramulla two months before, in which two army men and one policeman were killed.
Over the years, the Jaish has emerged as a bigger threat than the Lashkar-e-Toiba because the group targets high-value security installations, said Munir Khan.
“For the last one week he was on our radar and today he was eliminated,” he said.