Terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed suffered a major blow on Tuesday when security forces killed its top commander Noor Mohammad Tantray, considered the brain behind the terror outfit’s revival in Kashmir Valley, police said.
Two of his accomplices, believed to be foreign terrorists, managed to escape under the cover of darkness when the encounter broke out at Samboora village in Pulwama district in South Kashmir, they said, adding that the two would be tracked down soon. According to Director General of Police SP Vaid, the militants had gathered in the area and were planning to carry out an attack on a convoy of security personnel.
Terming the killing of 47-year-old Tantray as a “significant development”, the police said the terrorist was wanted in various terror incidents earlier this year, including a suicide attack at the BSF camp at Srinagar airport, and had become an irritant for the security forces.
“The divisional commander of JeM, Noor Mohammad Tantray alias Noor Trali, was killed in a gun battle with security forces in Samboora area of Pulwama,” the police said in a statement.
The body of Tantray, who was four feet two inches tall, was recovered along with one weapon on Tuesday morning from the rubble of the house where the terrorists were hiding. A crack team of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, acting on a specific input, had cordoned off a cluster of houses at Samboora which resulted in a fierce gunbattle leading to the elimination of the top JeM commander.
A police spokesman said Tantray, who was a close aide of the 2001 Parliament attack case mastermind Ghazi Baba, was convicted in a case registered in 2003 in Delhi. He served a sentence at Central Jail in Srinagar and was out on parole in 2015. Consequently, he remained in Tral in South Kashmir and became a major overground worker of the JeM in the region, the police said.
In July this year, after the Aripal encounter, in which three JeM terrorists were killed, Tantray went underground and soon became the key man of the terror outfit in coordinating and organising attacks at different places. He was one of the chief architects of the attack on a BSF camp near Srinagar airport in October. He was also wanted in connection with a number of terror attacks in south and central Kashmir.
Tantray hailed from Tral area and his death is being seen as a blow to the terror group as he was the key man in reviving the JeM in south and central Kashmir. He was buried at his village in Aripal later on Tuesday afternoon.