Abu Ismail was an operational commander of the Lashkar-e-Toiba who was killed in an encounter on the outskirts of Srinagar on Thursday along with his associate. His killing is a big breakthrough for the security forces as he was behind the attack on Amarnath Yatra pilgrims in July this year that claimed eight lives.
Ismail (23), a Pakistani national, was active in south Kashmir as he was designated as the operational commander of the terrorist outfit after Abu Dujjana joined the Zakir Musa group. Dujjana, along with his associate, was gunned down in August in Hakripora village in south Kashmir. Ismail had infiltrated into the Valley four to five years ago and was close to two former operational commanders, Abu Qasim and Dujjana.
He was mostly active in Kulgam and Anantnag districts of south Kashmir and came on the radar of the security forces after a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims returning from the Amarnath Yatra was attacked in Anantnag town near Khanbal in July. Soon after the attack, the J&K Police claimed that Ismail was behind the attack. Officials said that soon after carrying out the attack on the bus, he shifted his base from Anantnag and kept on moving between villages of three districts — Kulgam, Shopian and some pockets of Pulwama. However, they were tracking him using both human intelligence and surveillance methods. Top security officials were confident that he would be neutralized during an operation.
Sources said that information about his latest movement was generated from south Kashmir and a team of J&K Police from the region along with the Army managed to neutralize him near Aaribagh Nowgam on the outskirts of the city. The other militant who was killed along with Abu Ismail has been identified as Chotta Qasim, also a foreign militant. Officials said that it was a brief encounter based on specific information.