Group leader killed in Kashmir

Indian forces in Kashmir have shot dead the deputy of a leading Islamic group commander whose killing last month set off a surge in violence.

    Two Indian soldiers were also killed in an ambush

    Security forces said they raided 12 houses in

    Srinagar on Wednesday morning and shot dead Nasir Mahmud Ahwan, a Pakistani who was

    deputy commander in India of Jaish-e-Muhammad

    .

    A police statement said Ahwan served as the "right-hand man" of Gazi Baba, who

    was killed in a raid in Srinagar on August 30.

    Since Baba's death,

    violence has soared in Indian-administered 

    Kashmir, with at least 205 people

    killed.

    Tip-off

    Police were tipped off to Ahwan's presence late on Tuesday when

    two men led them to "12 well-constructed and

    concealed hideouts of Jaish-e-Mohammad".

    Troops from the Border Security Force and police 

    headed to one of the hideouts when they were ambushed,

    setting off a two-hour gunbattle in which Ahwan was killed

    .

    According to police, Ahwan, who was from the

    eastern Pakistani province of Punjab, "was involved in about 20

    killings of security force or police personnel".

    Kashmir is claimed by Pakistan,
    India and Kashmiri separatists

    Jaish commander Baba was accused of masterminding a series of

    attacks against India, including the December 2001 raid on India's

    parliament building in Delhi which set off

    war tensions between India and Pakistan.

    Jaish-e-Muhammad was

    founded in Pakistan, but banned there a month after the

    Indian parliament attack.

    In a separate incident, police sources said two soldiers from the Indian

    army's counter-insurgency wing were killed on Wednesday morning in an ambush by

    fighters near Kangan township, 40km

    northeast of Srinagar.

    More than 38,000 people have died in Indian-administered Kashmir since the

    eruption of fighting in 1989, according to Indian

    officials.

    However, the fighters put the toll between 80,000 and 100,000 dead.

    SOURCE: AFP


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