Abdullah Uni, the most wanted Lashkar-e-Taiba militant in the Kashmir Valley and responsible for a spate of killings including that of a senior cleric, was gunned down in a shootout in Sopore town Tuesday, said police, terming it a "major success in the campaign against militancy".
The killing of Azhar Malik alias Abdullah Uni, son of Riyaz Malik, a resident of Multan, was described by the intelligence agencies here as "a highly coordinated pinpoint operation to eliminate the most wanted militant commander in the Valley".
According to a police statement here: "Acting on specific information about the presence of militants in village Bagat Mohalla, Batpora in Sopore, police and troops of 22 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) laid a siege of the area this afternoon."
"The search party was fired upon by the holed up militants, which was retaliated, triggering an encounter.
"In the ensuing encounter, a dreaded militant Abdullah Uni, divisional commander of LeT for North Kashmir was killed. The house in which the militant was holed-up also suffered some damage. Arms and ammunition was recovered from the encounter site."
"The dreaded militant, Abdullah Uni was involved in the killing of Moulana Showket (sic), the Jamait-e-Ahlehadis cleric. Besides he was involved in many attacks on police and security forces including July 6, 2011 attack on police station Sopore in which one policeman was killed and 9 other injured," the statement said.
"He was also behind the killing of two sisters Akthara, age 20 years and Arifa, age 17 years on Feb 1, 2011. He was also found involved in the killing of a policeman, Mohammad Shafi at Tujjar on May 17, 2011".
Active in Sopore area for more than four years, Uni carried a cash reward of over Rs.1.2 million on his head. He is believed to have masterminded the killing of Jamiat-e-Ahl-e-Hadees chief Maulana Shaukat Ahmad Shah earlier this year.
"His elimination will definitely result in enhancing the people's confidence in the security forces," Sopore's Superintendent of Police Syed Imtiyaz Hussain told IANS.
Hussain had been personally supervising the operation against the guerrilla commander in the densely populated locality of Sopore town to ensure that no collateral damage occurred to civilian life or property in the political sensitive town.