Srinagar: One of the two foreign militants killed in the Pulwama encounter on Monday night is believed to be the nephew of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar even as security forces for the first time ever recovered a US-made M4 rifle from the scene of gunbattle, officials said on Tuesday.

“It is learnt that Talha Rasheed, nephew of Jaish-e- Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar, was among the three militants (including two foreigners) killed in the encounter at Aglar in Pulwama yesterday," a police hand out said.

General officer commanding Victor Force major general B. S. Raju said while there were reports that Azhar’s nephew was among the slain militants, it was for the police to investigate it. Three militants and an army soldier were killed in a fierce gunbattle in Aglar area last night.

Besides two AK-47 rifles, the security forces also recovered an M4 rifle, a weapon mostly used by the US army in its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Inspector General of Police (Kashmir) Muneer Khan said besides investigating the claim of JeM nephew’s killing, police will also probe as to how the US-made rifle made its way to Kashmir. “I am thankful that they (Jaish) have for the first time owned the (slain) Pakistani militant. Now I request them to now claim the body as well," Khan told reporters.

Maulana Masood Azhar, the founder of JeM, was one of the three militants released by the Centre in exchange of passengers of hijacked Indian Airlines plane from Kathmandu in 1999.

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