In a joint operation, Jammu and Kashmir Police and the Army killed two militants, including a foreign national on Saturday. The police have identified the Pakistani national as Munna Lahori, a top commander of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant outfit.
Why the killing of Munna Lahori is a big success for security forces?
While the Jaish commander had not been on the radar of security agencies for a long time, his ability to make powerful Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), something the local militants have little expertise of, made him a valuable catch.
His killing is seen as a huge setback to Jaish in particular and militants in general especially at a time when they were planning a shift of strategy from stand-off attacks to IED blasts.
How was Munna Lahori linked to the spurt in IED blasts in the Valley?
IEDs were used in Valley from the early 1990s when militancy erupted and was mostly smuggled from Pakistan. However, with the arrival of foreign militants in the Valley, they started to assemble IEDs locally. In the mid-’90s, a Sudanese chemical engineer Ibni Masood was one of the most popular explosive experts in the Valley. Masood also trained local militants in IED making. He was killed in an operation in north Kashmir’s Sopore.
But despite being a potent weapon, local militants have had little expertise on making IEDs, resulting in fewer IED blasts in the last decade.
After a Jaish militant rammed his explosive-laden car into a paramilitary convoy at Lethpora on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, killing 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, the militants in the Valley once again shifted their focus back to IED blasts.
After the Lethpora attack, the militants unsuccessfully tried to detonate another car bomb on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway at Ramban, targeting a paramilitary convoy. This was followed by another car bomb at Arihal in Pulwama in which two soldiers were killed and close to a dozen injured.
What made Munna Lahori an expert in making IEDs?
Police sources say that Lahori was an expert in assembling IEDs from locally available materials, an expertise lacked by the local militants. Lahori was the brain behind the recent IED attacks – especially the Ramban and Arihal car bombs, police said.
With the killing of Lahori, the security forces have, for the time being, thwarted militant attempts to create another Lethpora-like spectacle that brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.