Intercepts of telecommunication messages between terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir and their mentors in Pakistan suggest that cadres of foreign terrorist group Al-Qaeda were present in the Kashmir valley.
Senior security officials engaged in gathering 'techint', or technical intelligence, in the valley said there were intercepts of communications between Lashker-e-Taiba cadres about the presence of Al-Qaeda members.
The sources said while some of them were hiding in the higher reaches of Bandipore in north Kashmir along with LeT 'chief commander' Bilal alias Salahuddin, a few more were believed to be holed up in the dense forests of Budhal in Qazigund along the Jammu-Srinagar highway in south Kashmir.
Both these locations are strategically placed as terrorists could flee to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) within a short span of time in the event of any military offensive, they said.
The communications between two LeT groups in Bandipore and PoK that were intercepted were on a very low frequency transmitter, a mode of communication not generally used by terrorists. The other intercept was of a conversation on a Thuriya satellite phone, sources said.
Al-Qaeda has apparently been roped in by LeT to step up militancy in the Kashmir valley, they said.