LET MAN BEHIND AMARNATH YATRA ATTACK KILLED IN ENCOUNTER
a major blow to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Kashmir, security forces killed two terrorists — including the alleged mastermind of a deadly attack on Amarnath yatris earlier this year — at Nowgam on the outskirts of Srinagar on Thursday evening.
LeT leader Abu Ismail (24) and his associate, Abu Kasim, were “eliminated” in the encounter, Jammu and Kashmir director general of police Shesh Paul Vaid said on Twitter, congratulating security forces.
The forces suspected Ismail’s involvement in the killing of eight Amarnath Yatra pilgrims at Anantnag on July 10, although the LeT denied it, besides the attack on CRPF personnel near DPS-Srinagar in June. He is the fourth top militant leader to be killed in the Valley since 2016.
Kashmir inspector general of police Muneer Khan confirmed Ismail’s death at a press conference on Thursday evening.
Khan said the duo was killed at Arigam in Nowgam in a joint operation of the Army, CRPF and the police, launched on the basis of specific intelligence inputs.
“At 4.15 pm, contact was established with two terrorists who were in hiding. Both were killed in a very brief and crisp encounter, and there was no collateral damage,” he disclosed, adding that two rifles were recovered from the spot.
Both Ismail and Kasim hailed from Pakistan.
Ismail, an A-plus category militant involved in 15 criminal cases including murder, had taken over the reins of the LeT’s south Kashmir operations after his predecessor — Abu Dujana — was killed in an encounter last month. Khan said the operation was successful because Kashmiris wanted the terrorists to pay for their crimes. “These people had attacked unarmed Amarnath yatris, and there was widespread condemnation of the attack,” he added.
Security forces are still hunting for two others, a local resident and a Pakistani militant, involved in the Anantnag attack. Major General BS Raju, general officer commanding of Victor Force, said the operation was important because Ismail’s death was likely to create a vacuum in the LeT leadership.
Dujana (27) and another militant were shot dead in a shootout between militants and security forces at Pulwama’s Hakripora village on August 1. Hizbul Mujahideen leaders Burhan Wani and Sabzar Bhat were earlier killed by security forces.