Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Abu Ismail, the mastermind behind the July 10 attack on Amarnath yatra pilgrims, was among two terrorists killed in an encounter with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Nowgam on Thursday, police said. At a press briefing, IGP Kashmir Munir Khan said that following intelligence reports about the presence of the terrorists in the area, security forces launched an operation and neutralized the two terrorists. Two AK-47 rifles were recovered from them. Ismail’s associate was identified as Abu Qasim.
“I congratulate the team. He was one of our prime targets. It hardly took half-an-hour to complete the operation,” said Khan. He added, “Militant leadership has to be eliminated because they misguide our children and lure them into this.”
“J&K Police was after Ismail since the Amarnath attack. He was also involved in several other attacks,” DGP Kashmir SP Vaid said in the press conference.
Ismail was said to be behind the attack on a bus carrying pilgrims returning from the Amarnath shrine that claimed eight lives and injured at least a dozen people in July this year.
GOC of Victor Force Operation BS Raju said the operation was important because a vacuum is expected in the top leadership of LeT. Abu Ismail’s killing is seen as a major success by the security forces in their anti-militancy operations.
Earlier in the day, two overground workers of the Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist outfit were arrested in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district, police said. Two grenades were recovered from Waheed Ahmad Bhat and Muhammad Shafi Mir, who were arrested from Handwara area. Overground workers provide logistic support to militants by organising their hideouts and by keeping an eye on the movement of security forces.