Indian security forces kill top Kashmir militant Ismail
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.