The militant killed in a gunfight at Ratnipora in Pulwama district has been identified as Hilal Ahmad Rather alias Zarar of Begumbagh, Kakapora.
According to sources, Hilal was working as over ground worker when he was spotted in CCTV footage among the men who helped Naveed Jatt, Lashkar-e-Taiba commander, escape from SMHC hospital in February last year. Soon Hilal went into hiding and actively joined the militant ranks and was affiliated himself with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, they said. A police officer also confirmed to GNS that Hilal helped Jatt to escape from SMHS hospital.
Naveed Jatt remained active for nearly ten months after his escape before he was killed in an encounter with government forces in Budgam district in November last year.
Meanwhile, official sources clarified that one soldier was killed in the gunfight at Ratnipora Pulwama while two others including a commando are injured. Police, however, said that two army personnel sustained gunshot injuries and one of them Baljeet Singh succumbed to his wounds at a hospital here.
Meanwhile, a residential house where the militants were hiding razed to rubble during the gunfight, sources said.
Sources also said that two to three militants escaped while taking advantage of darkness in the initial exchange of firefight during wee hours. The militants were part of a joint group of Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen, the sources added.