Zakir Musa, the so-called chief of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, a group affiliated with the Al Qaeda, was killed in an encounter with security forces in a village in South Kashmir's Tral, officials confirmed on Friday.
A defence spokesman said one terrorist was killed in the operation at Dadsara in Tral area of Pulwama district on Thursday night.
"The (slain) terrorist was identified as Zakir Musa after the body was recovered Friday morning. Weapons and war-like stores were recovered from the encounter site," defence spokesman Rajesh Kalia said, adding that the operation has been called off.
Senior police officials said security forces had launched a cordon and search operation at Dadsara village and when the terrorists tried to escape, a gunfight broke out.
They said efforts were made to make them surrender but the request fell on deaf ears and the holed up terrorists started lobbing grenades using a launcher.
The officials said more teams of security forces was rushed to the area to prevent the terrorists from escaping under the cover of darkness.
Spontaneous protests broke out Thursday night in Shopian, Pulwama, Awantipora and downtown Srinagar, with people raising slogans in favour of Musa, prompting authorities to impose curfew in some parts of the Valley as a precautionary measure.
The restrictions have been imposed in some areas of Pulwama, Srinagar, Anantnag and Budgam districts. Educational institutions have been ordered closed for the day while mobile internet services have also been snapped across Kashmir.
The officials said the decision was made keeping in view the Friday prayer gatherings.
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com