Srinagar: In a major breakthrough, the security forces on Monday gunned down two terrorists, including Abdul Rasheed Ghazi alias Kamran – the Jaish-e-Mohammed commander who had masterminded the February 14 attack in Pulwama which left 40 CRPF jawans dead.

However, four Army personnel, including a Major, were martyred in the 12-hour-long gunfight with Jaish terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district. A civilian was also killed in the exchange of fire in Pinglan area.

The other militant killed in the encounter has been identified as Hilal Ahmed, a local also from Jaish-e-Mohammed.

According to sources, Ghazi, who was an Afghan war veteran and an IED expert, had trained Adil Ahmed Dar – the suicide bomber who carried out the dastardly attack.

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He was a trusted lieutenant of Masood Azhar and had been operating from the forest and hills in Tral and Pulwama.

Intelligence sources revealed that nearly 15 Jaish militants had infiltrated into India via Poonch last month. Among them was Ghazi, who had arrived with equipment and other explosives and was directed to train a local Kashmiri youth to carry out an attack on security forces.

The martyred security personnel belonged to the 55 Rashtriya Rifles. They have been identified as Major VS Dhoundiyal, Havaldar Sheo Ram, Sepoy Ajay Kumar and Sepoy Hari Singh.

The gunfight started late on Sunday after security forces, including the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Special Operations Group (SOG) of the state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), surrounded the village following a tip off that Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants — the same group that carried out the February 14 attack leaving a toll 49 troopers — were hiding in the area.

The encounter comes four days after Adil Ahmed Dar, a Jaish terrorist, rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into one of the vans of a CRPF convoy at the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway killing 40 CRPF jawans. Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed the responsibility of the dastardly attack.