4 cell phone bombers arrested on highway
16 September 2006
The Daily Excelsior
Excelsior Special Correspondent
Srinagar: Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Jammu & Kashmir Police have arrested four militants of Hizbul Mujahideen who, according to officials, were all experts in fabricating, planting and detonating mobile phone IEDs in Kashmir valley. Meanwhile, eight militants have been killed in four major gunbattles between militants and security forces since last evening. IGP Kashmir, S M Sahai, told mediapersons this afternoon that Police had achieved a major success by arresting four militants of Hizbul Mujahideen from a Maruti car at Pohru Chowk, on Bypass of Srinagar-Jammu Highway, in Srinagar outskirts today. He said that the operation was conducted on a specific information, according to which some militants of Hizbul Mujahideen were carrying arms and ammunition, including some mobile phone- operated IEDs and Chinese pistols, in a white colour Maruti car, bearing registration No JK01C-8622, at Pohru Chowk in Nowgam outskirts of the Capital city. He said that four militants-namely Altaf Ahmed Mir alias Mushtaq alias Sahil S-o Mohammad Yusuf Mir R-o Awanpora, Awantipore, Mohammad Amin Badyari alias Imtiyaz S-o Ghulam Qadir Badyari R-o Fruit Mandi, Parimpora, Khursheed Ahmed Shah alias Khalid S-o Abdul Majeed Shah R-o Gurdipora, Awantipore and Shabir Ahmed Sheikh alias Sajjad S-o Ghulam Ahmed Sheikh R-o Karfali Mohalla-were taken into custody from the seized car and subjected to sustained interrogation. IGP claimed that two IEDs, fitted to a pressure cooker, besides three pistols, one radio set, cash worth Rs 2.64 Lakh and a mobile phone set, were recovered from the militants and seized by Police. Sahai claimed that the entire technology for fabricating, blasting and exploding the IEDs, had been recovered from the possession of the arrested militants. He claimed that this particular module of Hizbul Mujahideen, with special expertise and knowledge in fabricating mobile phone IEDs, had been operating under the command of Hizbul Mujahideen's most wanted 'Divisional Commander' Suhail Faisal. He said that a manhunt had been launched to arrest Suhail Faisal and his right-hand man, Mudassar Ahmed Shah alias Shabir alias Munir alias Munna alias Doctor S-o Bashir Ahmed Shah R-o Gurdihal, Awantipore. Head of Police in Kashmir valley, Sahai said that one Noor-ud-din Shah of Khrew had been providing vehicles and the transportation of IEDs used to be handled by the detained Altaf Ahmed Mir. He revealed, on the basis of intelligence inputs and disclosures of the detainees in sustained interrogation, that the Hizb module had improvised bodies of some vehicles used and to be used for transportation of IEDs. IGP claimed that Altaf Mir had been appointed as 'District Commander' for Srinagar after his predecessor got injured in an accidental blast in Tral area. Sahai said that the Hizb militants had carried out a number of cell phone IED blasts including the one that occurred on Srinagar Airport Road on May 23, 2006. A CRPF spokesman claimed that the Hizb militants were arrested and the arms and ammunition were recovered from them by Commanding Officer of CRPF 164 Bn, Arvind Rai, alongwith a contingent of Nowgam Police. Meanwhile Hizbul Mujahideen spokesman, Junaid-ul-Islam confirmed the arrest of the four militants but denied that they included a 'District Commander' of his organisation. Meanwhile, at least eight militants were killed in four encounters with security forces in Shopian, Pulwama and Handwara areas in Kashmir valley since last evening. Armed forces achieved these successes after eliminating Lashkar-e-Toiba 'District Commander' for Udhampur, Abu Saad of Pakistan, in Pir Panjal foothills in south Kashmir on Friday. Informed sources told the EXCELSIOR that troops of 3 Para conducted a cordon-and-search operation, on a specific information, at Gurwatan Sarpathri in Pir Panjal foothills in Shopian area today. Three militants of Jaish-e- Mohammad were killed in a fierce gunbattle that occurred during the operation. Even as the militants killed in the encounter were unidentified, one of them was believed to be a Pakistani national and two more Kashmiri activists of the guerrilla outfit. Sources said that earlier today, troops of RR 62 Bn and SOG conducted a search operation on a specific information at Narwani in Shopian area. One militant of Lashkar-e-Toiba, who was identified as Mohtasham Billa alias Abu Talha of Pakistan, got killed. Some holed up militants were believed to have escaped. Sources said that, in Pulwama district again, SOG swooped on the house of one Abdul Gaffar Wani S-o Abdur Rahim Wani at Wahipora, Chakora, with a supporting unit of RR 55 Bn today. On a suspicion, two SPOs, namely Naseer and Ishtiaq, began pushing a commode with their feet. Suddenly, the holed up militants underneath fired a grenade which exploded and left both the SPOs as well as the militants injured. However, the injured SPOs directed heavy gunfire, killing both the militants. They were identified as Firdaus Ahmed alias Munna S-o Noor Mohammad R-o Armulla and Shabir Ahmed Bhat alias Umar S-o Mohammad Ahsan R-o Arihal, Dangarpora. IGP Kashmir claimed that both of the Hizbul Mujahideen militants were also mobile phone IED experts, responsible for many blasts and attacks on security forces. Sources in north Kashmir said that troops of RR 21 Bn swooped on a militant, on a specific information, at Chhalpora, Wadipora, in Handwara area of Kupwara district. Sources said that two of the holed up militants got killed but two more managed to escape. A trail of fresh blood suggested that one of the escapees had got injured. Troops searched the area but failed to get any clue regarding the two militants' whereabouts. Sources said that an encounter took place between militants and troops of RR 03 Bn in a forest area near Batkoot, Pahalgam, this afternoon. Even as one of the militants sustained injuries, all the holed up militants, believed to be four in number, managed to escape. Troops used sniffer dogs on the trail of blood but failed to identify their hideout. Reports from Kangan said that an unidentified dead body was recovered from Satrena forest area.