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Top Hizbul commander among two terrorists killed as Army foils infiltration bid in J&K’s Poonch

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POONCH/JAMMU, Aug 7 (PTI): A self-styled divisional commander of Hizbul Mujahideen was killed along with his bodyguard as security forces foiled an infiltration attempt and a conspiracy by the proscribed outfit to revive its activities in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district early Monday, officials said.

While the body of Hizbul commander Muneser Hussain was retrieved, his bodyguard’s body was still lying near the Line of Control (LoC) in Degwar sector, the officials said.

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Troops in the Degwar sector noticed the movement of some terrorists attempting to sneak into this side under the cover of darkness in the early hours of the day and engaged them in an encounter, the officials said.

Jammu-based defence PRO Lt Col Suneel Bartwal said the two infiltrating terrorists were engaged by the joint team of Army and police in Garhi Battalion area around 2 am.

“One terrorist fell down immediately while the second tried to run back to LoC, engaged and hit and was seen falling down on the ground,” the officer said.

The movement of the terrorists was picked up in the general area Degwar Terva, he said.

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Lt Col Bartwal said the body of one of the slain terrorists was retrieved and has been identified on the basis of police records as Hussain — a resident of Bagyladra village of Poonch who was a self-style Divisional Commander of Hizbul Mujahideen.

“In 1993, he went to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) for arms training and came back three years later. He has masterminded a number of attacks on Security Forces before returning to PoK in 1998,” the officer said.

Hussain, who has two wives and several children, was a close associate of Maulana Dawood Kashmiri, a close associate of PoK-based Hizbul supremo Syed Salauddin, he said.

“A high-level meeting of the Hizbul group took place in Islamabad, Pakistan recently to chalk out a plan to revive the outfit in the border districts of Poonch and Rajouri in J-K. Hussain along with his bodyguard was believed to have been sent with the agenda of reviving terrorism in south of Pir-Panjal,” he said.

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“Hussain is the most dreaded terrorist killed in the last 10 years in Rajouri and Poonch belt. His killing makes it evident that Pakistan is trying to send old terror veterans to motivate and recruit youth, thus making desperate attempts to revive terrorism,” Lt Col Bartwal said.

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