New Delhi: Security Forces on Friday neutralised a top commander of the pro-Pakistani terrorist outfit Hizbul Mujahideen during an intense gunfight in Arkhar village of Imam Sahib in South Kashmir’s Shopian district.

Officials are yet to identify the slain terrorist as the encounter is ongoing. However, sources said that he is Hizbul’s top commander Tariq Maulvi.

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According to reports, at least three more terrorists are trapped in the area. 

A joint team of security forces including army’s 34 RR and Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir Police launched a search operation in the area following inputs about the presence of the militants.

Sources also claimed that wanted terrorist Lateef Tiger, one of the longest surviving terrorists, who was also part of Burhan Wani’s group photograph that went viral, is also likely to be trapped in the encounter.

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Shopian is one of the worst violence-hit districts in the state, following the killing of Hizbul’s commander Burhan Wani in July 2016.

Last week, security forces eliminated two more Hizbul terrorists in an encounter in Anantnag district. The terrorists were identified as Safder Amin Bhat (25) and Burhan Ahmad Ganie (25). Bhat, a Class 9 pass out, joined Hizbul Mujahideen in May 2017. Ganie, also know as Saifullah, was pursuing Bachelor of Physiotherapy and had been a member of the terror outfit since June 2018.

The Indian Army has gunned down 41 terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir since Pulwama attack, which claimed lives of 40 CRPF personnel. Out of those killed, 25 terrorists belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed and 13 of them were Pakistanis.