Abu Dujana, divisional commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), was killed in a gunfight between security forces and terrorists on Tuesday after the former launched a search and cordon operation in Pulwama district's Hakripora village in south Kashmir.
Earlier reports had said that Dujana was trapped inside a house in the village after the security forces launched the search and cordon operation around 4 am based on inputs about the presence of militants in the area.
"As the forces approached towards the suspected spot, the militants hiding inside opened fire, triggering an encounter," an official was quoted by Greater Kashmir as saying.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Tuesday confirmed that Dujana was killed in the encounter. Another terrorist named Arif and a civilian were also killed in the encounter.
Internet services across Pulwama have been suspended "as a precautionary measure" to prevent law and order problems.
Who is Abu Dujana?
Dujana, the divisional commander of the LeT, hails from the Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and is believed to be the longest surviving militant in Jammu and Kashmir. According to a dossier of the Intelligence Bureau, he had joined the terror outfit when he was 17.
Dujana, who operated out of Pulwama, carried a Rs 15 lakh bounty on his head and was reportedly among the top 12 most wanted militants in the Kashmir Valley.
Dujana, whose main target was the Indian Army, was appointed as a deputy to LeT commander Abu Qasim after he impressed his bosses with his planning and style of execution, News18 reported. After Qasim's death, Dujana was the obvious choice to lead the terrorist organisation in Kashmir.
Dujana figured in the A++ category of the Indian Army and was believed to be the mastermind behind several terrorist attacks that took place across south Kashmir. Dujana believed that the armed forces were the main obstacle to their so-called Kashmir struggle.
Dujana alias Hafiz is the third major militant leader killed in the Valley since 2016 following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leaders Burhan Wani and Sabzar Bhat by security forces.
Dujana's name featured in several attacks against the security forces, including the ones in pampore and Udhampur, in which two BSF personnel had died. Dujana was believed to have planned the Udhampur attack.
Dujana had previously escaped from the security forces five times. He came close to being caught in May but escaped with the help of stone-pelting protesters who gave him cover to run away.