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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 September, 2003, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
Kashmir police 'kill top militant'
Indian soldier patrolling in Srinagar, Kashmir
Indian police say they have killed 90 militants in the past two weeks
Police in Indian-administered Kashmir say they have killed one of the most senior members of the Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group.

News of the killing of Nasir Mehmood Ahwan, alias Ansar, in Srinagar comes less than three weeks after his leader, Ghazi Baba, was shot dead by Indian security forces.

The police chief of Indian Kashmir, Gopal Sharma, said Ansar was the deputy leader of the group's operations in Kashmir and was killed in an overnight raid on a house.

However, a Jaish-e-Mohammad spokesman in Pakistani-administered Kashmir told the BBC that Ansar had been killed after being captured by Indian security forces on 22 August.

The spokesman also said Ansar did not hold a senior position in the group.

Police sources denied that Ansar had been held in custody.

Mr Sharma said Ansar was responsible for killing a number of Indian soldiers and policemen in Srinagar.

He said soldiers had found a "large quantity of arms" after the raid in Srinagar's Safakadal area.

Ambush

The death of Baba on 30 August sparked an upsurge in violence that has left more than 200 people dead in the state.

Mr Sharma said the security forces had stepped up their offensive against the militants, killing 90 in the past two weeks.

On Tuesday, security forces said they killed a commander of the militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba and another member of the group in Shopian, in the south of the state.

One member of the security forces was also killed and six others injured in the fighting.

The Indian authorities say the commander, Abu Umair, was involved in planning the attack on the Akshardham Hindu temple in the western state of Gujarat a year ago, in which at least 30 people were killed.

India has accused Jaish-e-Mohammad (the Army of Mohammad) of involvement in a number of attacks, including the December 2001 raid on the parliament in New Delhi.

That raid left 15 people dead and sparked 18 months of tense relations between India and Pakistan.

Separately on Wednesday, two Indian counter-insurgency troops were killed by militants near the town of Kangan, 40 kilometres (25 miles) north-east of Srinagar.

Police said the soldiers were in a patrol ambushed by militants armed with rifles and grenades.

The recent upsurge in violence was sparked by the death of Baba in a 10-hour gun battle in Srinagar last month. He was said to be one of the masterminds behind the Delhi parliament attack.

On the same day, Indian police shot dead two more Jaish-e-Mohammad militants in Delhi.

A series of militant attacks followed, with the worst being a bomb blast in a Srinagar fruit market that killed six people and injured 30 on 6 September.

The Kashmir region is divided between India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over the territory.




SEE ALSO:
Q&A: Kashmir dispute
04 Sep 03  |  South Asia


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