A self-styled district commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen was killed in an encounter with security forces in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday afternoon, official sources said.
"Abdul Rashid alias "Majid", one of the most wanted militants of the Hizbul Mujahideen in south Kashmir, was killed in a nearly five-hour-long gunbattle with the Special Operations Group of the local police and Rashtriya Rifles at Nayan-Batpora village, the sources said.
The encounter broke out at around 0700 hrs when a police party assisted by troops of the Rashtriya Rifles raided a house adjacent to a school in the village following specific information about the presence of a top Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist there, they said.
The joint search party asked the hiding militant to surrender but he opened fire and in the ensuing encounter, the self-styled district commander was killed, they said.
His half-burnt body along with some arms and ammunition was recovered from the debris of the house which was gutted during the gunfight.
Terming the killing of the top militant as a "major breakthrough", the sources said Rashid was evading arrest for the last several years and was wanted in a number of militancy-related incidents.