A top Harkat-ul-Mujahideen militant, suspected to be mastermind behind the suicide attack in Lal Chowk in Srinagar, was on Wednesday killed along with another ultra in an encounter with security forces in Sopore town of North Kashmir.
The 20-hour fierce gunbattle also left a soldier dead and the house of a government employee destroyed, an official spokesman said.
The slain self-styled divisional commander has been identified as Nouman, a Pakistani national, he said.
Giving details of the encounter, a police spokesman said that on specific information, troops of 52 Rashtriya Rifles and police laid a siege to Haigam-Sopore area, 50 km from here, yesterday.
He said as the joint party started search operations, two militants of HuM opened fire from a house killing army jawan Sanjay Kumar belonging to the Rashtriya Rifles yesterday.
The security forces tightened the cordon around the house from where the militants were firing and engaged them. During the ensuing encounter, which lasted till this morning, Nouman alias Mooch Wala and local militant, Arif, were eliminated, the spokesman said.
He said Nouman, a 'Divisional Commander' of HuM, also known here as 'Mike Islam', was involved in a 'fidayeen' attack at Lal Chowk on January 7 which left four persons dead and 11 others injured. The deceased were two members of the suicide squad, a policeman and civilian.
Nouman was also involved in a number of police and civilian killings in Sopore and Baramulla town of North Kashmir, the spokesman said.
He said Nouman was also involved in the killing of a police constable and three CRPF men at Sopore Bus Stand, the mother of a Special Police Officer and a head constable in Sopore this year.