The terrorists had been active in the Handwara forest for two weeks.

SRINAGAR: The two terrorists killed in the Chanjimulla village in the Handwara Forest were part of a group of seven members, five of whom were killed in the Rangdori Forest in the Keran sector on April 5 when they attempted to infiltrate the Control Line (LoC).

However, the two escaped from the safety net at the LoC and returned to PoK, intelligence sources said, adding that they managed to infiltrate the LoC a few days later.

According to locals in Chanjimulla, the two terrorists, Haider de PoK and Asif Reshi, were seen in the forested area for the past two weeks. Units 21 and 15, which are stationed in the area, also received information last week about the presence of two or four heavily armed terrorists in combat suits in the area.

However, Vijay Kumar, IG, Kashmir Range, denied that Haider was part of the seven-member team of terrorists who had attempted to infiltrate the LoC in the Keran sector on April 5. Five soldiers were also killed in the encounter in the Keran sector.

Kumar said Haider was a senior commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba who had been primarily active in the Lolab, Sogam and Handwara areas of northern Kashmir since June 2017. He was the mastermind behind the recent killings of three CRPF jawans in Sopore, Kumar said, adding that he had also killed several civilians.

Kumar said Haider was tasked with receiving new LeT groups from across the LoC and planning new attacks.

The other murdered terrorist, Asif Reshi, was a resident of Gund Chabootra in Handwara.

Haider and Asif's bodies were brought to Sheeri and buried in the presence of a magistrate.