Three terrorists, including the nephew of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, were killed by security forces in an overnight encounter on Monday in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, reported ANI.

A soldier of 44 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) was also killed and two others got injured in the operation, NDTV reported. A civilian also suffered injuries in the crossfire.

“We got inputs that at least three terrorists were hiding in the area,” Vinay Kumar, senior CRPF officer told NDTV. “All three were JeM terrorists, and two of them were Pakistani nationals,” he added.

The terrorists have been identified as Talha Rasheed, Maulana Masood Azhar’s nephew; JeM’s military commander for south Kashmir, identified only by the pseudonym “Muhammad Bhai”, and Kashmir resident Wasim Ganai, reported The Indian Express.

According to The Indian Express

Talha Rashid, police sources said, had been targeted as part of an ongoing police operation against a group of an estimated Jaish-e-Muhammad terrorists sent across the Line of Control to carry out high-profile fidayeen attacks. The three men killed in Rajpora are suspected of having carried out a recent ambush targeting a police post near Rajpora, killing constable Abdul Salaam.

Army chief Bipin Rawat said Jaish’s acknowledgment is proof of terror emanating from Pakistan.

“This makes it clear that terrorists are getting support from across the border,” said Rawat.

Jammu and Kashmir Police said this is the first time that JeM has acknowledged a terrorist as one of their own. 

“(This is the) first time they owned a Pak terrorist, that he is nephew of Masood Azhar. We’ll ask them to collect body because they owned it,” said Muneer Khan, Kashmir’s inspector general of police.

Troops of 182 and 183 battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 44 Rashtriya Rifles and the Jammu and Kashmir Police were carrying out a cordon and search operation in the region, when the encounter broke out, reports The Times of India.

A record 72 terrorists have been killed in south Kashmir so far this year—including ten from the Jaish-e-Muhammad— the highest number in a decade, reported The Indian Express.