Jaish-e-Mohammad ‘leader’ killed in Indian-held Kashmir

A suspected leader of the Pakistani militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad and another suspected militant have been killed in a shootout with security forces in Indian-held Kashmir, police said Tuesday.

The clash happened in the regional capital Srinagar late Monday, hours after rebels shot dead three policemen in separate attacks in the city.

Deadly attacks on security forces are relatively common in the disputed Indian-controlled Himalayan region, but Srinagar has been largely free from such incidents in recent years.

“Two militants, including a JeM (Jaish-e-Mohammad) commander, were killed after a brief encounter,” Srinagar police Chief Amit Kuma told reporters.

Another senior officer, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, told media that police had launched an operation against the men after receiving intelligence they were hiding out in the city.

Bhat identified one of the dead as Saifullah, a Pakistani national and senior leader of JeM, one of the groups India blames for a 2001 attack on its parliament.

The operation was apparently not related to the two attacks earlier in the day by gunmen on motorbikes in which three police officers were killed in the heavily militarised city.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. Both claim the territory in its entirety.

An insurgency to end Indian rule in the mainly Muslim region broke out in 1989 and has killed tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians.

India blames Pakistan for backing the militants in Kashmir, a charge Islamabad denies.

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