The Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)’s recently-anointed commander Abu Ismail, said to be responsible for the July 10 attack on Amarnath pilgrims that left eight dead, was killed along with his associate in an encounter on the outskirts of Srinagar on Thursday.
Government forces got Abu Ismail’s number – or, to be precise, they tracked the cell phone number of the elusive Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist.
Ismail, who was a resident of the state of Punjab in Pakistan, was an A++ category terrorist who had sneaked into India in 2016 and had taken over the command of Lashkar operations in South Kashmir area from Abu Dujana, who was eliminated by security forces in August.
J&K Director General of Police S.P. Vaid said Abu Ismail was the main accused in the Amarnath yatra attack. “We had prior information about the presence of two foreign terrorists,” said Mr. Vaid.
Abu Ismail and his associate, Chota Qasim, were killed in a brief encounter at Aarigam area near Nowgam on the outskirts of Srinagar. The militant has been the prime target of the security agencies since the July attack.
Military Arms Recovered
Two AK 47 rifles and other materials were recovered from the slain militants, said the police. Residents said the firing lasted just around 10 minutes, indicating at a well-planned trap.
“Militant leadership has to be eliminated because they also misguide our children and lure them into this,” said Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, (IGP) Muneer Khan.
“The operation was important because we are expecting vacuum in the top leadership of LeT,” said B.S. Raju, General Officer Commanding, Army’s Victor Force.
Senior Army sources said Ismail’s death is a great success for security forces as he was involved in a large number of bank robberies, after demonetization, to provide support to the terrorist infrastructure hit badly by cash crunch and attacking military, sources said the command of Lashkar was handed over to Ismail by the Pakistani ISI and Lashkar co-founder Hafiz Saeed as the previous commander Dujana had fallen in love with a Kashmiri girl and was found not focused enough by the leadership.