Two masterminds of Pulwama bombing killed in encounter

Security forces have eliminated two suspected terrorists who were part of the deadly suicide bombing in Kashmir’s Pulwama district that left over 40 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) dead, reports citing police sources said.

The two terrorists who masterminded the bomb attack on the CRPF convoy were both Pakistani nationals and members of JeM, police said in a statement.
“The encounter is still in progress and the security forces are on the job,” police said.
Four Indian soldiers and a civilian were also killed during the fighting, police said. Security force sources told Reuters one of the dead militants had been identified as Abdul Rashid Gazi, who went by the alias Kamran Bhai.
Indian troops had earlier cordoned off Pinglan village in Kashmir’s Pulwama district, where the attack took place on Thursday.
The suicide bomb attack on the CRPF convoy last Thursday, the deadliest single attack on Indian forces in 30 years, has been carried out with support from Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which also owned up responsibility for the attack. 
Pakistan has been harbouring the group and other such groups despite global anger against its policies of harbouring terror and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under pressure to order immediate retaliation. 
Modi has promised strong response and said he has given the military a free hand to tackle cross-border terrorism.
An indefinite curfew has been imposed and police have asked people to stay indoors.
Mohammad Yunis, a journalist in Pulwama, said troops were searching the village and civilians trapped in houses were being evacuated.
Security forces had earlier detained 23 men suspected to have links to the militants who carried out the Thursday bombing.
The state administration also withdrew trade privileges offered to Pakistan after the bomb attack and has warned of further action.
The United States had told India it supported its right to defend itself against cross-border attacks, India said on Saturday.
Pakistan, meanwhile, withdrew its envoy to India for consultations, a spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign ministry said on Twitter on Monday.