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Lashkar Commander Abu Ismail, Amarnath Attack Mastermind, Killed in Kashmir

Ismail, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander, was shot dead along with another LeT operative in an operation conducted on the outskirts of Srinagar.

News18.com

Updated:September 14, 2017, 11:31 PM IST
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Srinagar: Abu Ismail, the top Lashkar commander, who is believed to have orchestrated and carried out the attack on Amarnath Yatra bus in July, in which nine pilgrims were killed, was shot dead along with another LeT operative in an operation conducted on the outskirts of Srinagar on Thursday.

Abu Ismail's death is a big success for the forces, who had counted him as one of the most wanted men in Kashmir along with four others.

According to sources, the encounter had started around 4.15 pm in Aaribagh of Nowgam district on the outskirts of Srinagar. It lasted just three minutes. The terrorists were holed up in a house when the forces launched the operation. The other LeT terrorist killed in the attack was Abu Kasim, officials said.

Security agencies had launched a manhunt to nab Ismail soon after the attack on pilgrims on July 11. Ismail was a Pakistani national and dubbed to be the successor to Lashkar’s Kashmir chief, Abu Dujana, a dreaded terrorist and one of the most wanted men in Kashmir. Ismail was supported by local militants in the attack.

Speaking to News18, Kashmir’s Director General of Police SP Vaid confirmed the death of Ismail. Calling him Lashkar’s most important man in the Valley, he said it would be a huge blow for the Pakistan-based terror outfit.

“Ismal was involved in the attack on the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims. The attack has been avenged,” he said, adding that people of the Valley need peace and “good days are back.”

Giving more details about the encounter, Vaid said that security forces had received specific inputs about the presence of terrorists in the area and mounted an operation. He said the two terrorists killed are Pakistani nationals. “Two weapons have been recovered from them,” he added.

Police said that Ismail had succeeded Abu Dujana last month as operations chief of Lashkar and was now trying to strengthen the organisation after suffering reverses in military operations.

Many top LeT commanders like Abu Qasim, Bashir Lashkari and Ali have been killed in the last few months giving a body blow to the outfit. Ismail, according to sources, was trying to lure locals into Lashkar and also liaise with Hizbul Mujahideen and Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Sources said Ismail had entered the Valley after Hizbul commander Burhan Wani's killing and quickly rose to the top position in Lashkar. Police said that 15 FIRs were lodged against Abu Ismail and he was involved in number of terror attacks in south Kashmir, including several attacks on police and other security forces.

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