In a big breakthrough, security forces on Monday gunned down top Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) commander Abdul Rasheed Ghazi alias Kamran, in a 12-hour-long encounter with multiple JeM terrorists in Pulwama regions.
Ghazi was a Pakistani national and the brain behind the Pulwama attack.
In fact, Ghazi had a narrow escape during an encounter which took place days before the vehicle-borne IED attack on CRPF convoy last Thursday. A local terrorist was murdered and a soldier was martyred in that encounter.
Ghazi, who was an Afghan war veteran and an IED specialist, was the one who trained Adil Dar, the terrorist from Pulwama who led the explosive-laden vehicle into the CRPF convoy.
On January 3, TOI was the first to report about the top Jaish commander having crossed the border on December 9 and hiding in Pulwama. The security forces had intensified the manhunt for him since the attack.
Ghazi was one of the closest and most trusted aide of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar.
He was believed to be in his mid-thirties and joined Jaish more than a decade ago. He had been trained in warfare techniques and IED preparation by the Taliban and was known to be one of the finest hands of Jaish.
“He returned to PoK in 2011 after fighting the NATO forces in Federally Administered Tribal Area and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Since then, he has been the most sought after jihadi trainer who specializes in Deeni and Askari (literature and weaponry) training in camps operated by Jaise and ISI across PoK,” a source said.
Ghazi was sent to the Valley after security forces killed Masood Azhar’s nephew, Usman, who was a highly trained sniper.
Soon after his killing, Jaish-e-Mohammed released a statement vowing to seek revenge. Azhar had already been seething for revenge after the death of his first nephew Talha Rasheed who was killed in 2017.
It is believed that Azhar sent Ghazi and two other top commanders to the Valley in the first week of December who then began to give final shape of a deadly plan which was to be executed around February 9, the death anniversary of Parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru.