In­dian se­cu­rity forces kill top Kash­mir mil­i­tant Is­mail

Houston Chronicle - - WORLD -

SRINAGAR, In­dia — In­dian se­cu­rity forces said Thurs­day that they had killed one of the most wanted mil­i­tants in the Kash­mir Val­ley, a man they said was re­spon­si­ble for a re­cent at­tack on pil­grims who were vis­it­ing a re­li­gious shrine.

Au­thor­i­ties said they had fa­tally shot the mil­i­tant, Abu Is­mail, who was con­nected to sev­eral re­cent at­tacks, and a man whom they called a fel­low “ter­ror­ist” who was with him, af­ter a brief gun­bat­tle on the out­skirts of Kash­mir’s big­gest city, Srinagar.

“It was a very brief and crisp en­counter,” said Mu­nir Khan, the Kash­mir po­lice chief.

For more than 25 years, the Kash­mir Val­ley of north­ern In­dia has been plagued by con­flict. Sev­eral mil­i­tant groups have sprung up, and In­dian se­cu­rity forces have tried to wipe them out.

In­dian au­thor­i­ties said they had been clos­ing in on Is­mail in re­cent days. They de­scribed him as a ma­jor player in Kash­mir’s mil­i­tant scene, a hard­ened fighter in his mid-20s who was born in Pak­istan.

Is­mail was de­scribed by au­thor­i­ties as the “mas­ter­mind” of an at­tack in July on a bus of Hindu pil­grims who were vis­it­ing a moun­tain shrine in Kash­mir, an at­tack that left eight peo­ple dead.

He had more than a dozen other ac­cu­sa­tions against him, in­clud­ing rob­bing banks.

On Thurs­day af­ter­noon, In­dian forces re­ceived a tip that Is­mail and an aide, Abu Qasim, were hid­ing in a house near Srinagar.

When the se­cu­rity forces of­fi­cers ar­rived at the house, Is­mail opened fire and then tried to flee.

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