NEW DELHI – A Kashmiri separatist militant accused by Indian authorities of being a divisional commander of the militant group Jaish-e Mohammed was killed on Tuesday after a gunfight with Indian security forces, police sources reported.
In a statement, police in India-administered Kashmir said that a joint operation with the paramilitary group Central Reserve Police Force led to a fierce gun battle with militants in which JeM commander Noor Mohammed Tantray was killed.
JeM seeks the accession of Kashmir to Pakistan and has been accused of carrying out many attacks in the region and other parts of India.
Police said the death of Noor was a significant breakthrough.
He was arrested in 2003 and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2011 for collaborating with JeM militants, but got parole in 2015.
The statement said that Noor went underground in July 2017 and soon became a key commander for JeM, coordinating attacks in many places.
Indian authorities had alleged that Noor was the architect of an attack carried out in October on a military base close to an airport in Kashmir, in which a soldier and two militants were killed.
Noor was also wanted by authorities in relation to a series of attacks in south and central Kashmir.
Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, Kashmir is the only Muslim-majority region in India.
Pakistan has claimed full sovereignty over the area since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947 and independence from the British Empire.
India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring militants operating on Indian territory in an attempt to bolster the Kashmiri separatist movement.
The two nations have waged several wars and minor conflicts over Kashmir, which is one of the most militarized regions in the world.