Amarnath attack mastermind Abu Ismail among two Lashkar terrorists killed in Kashmir
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Amarnath attack mastermind Abu Ismail among two Lashkar terrorists killed in Kashmir

The operation is another major success for the security forces, who have now gunned down four top militant leaders in Kashmir since last year.

india Updated: Sep 15, 2017 10:28 IST
Toufiq Rashid
Toufiq Rashid
Srinagar, Hindustan Times
Jammu and Kashmir,Nowgam encounter,Lashkar-e-Taiba
Inspector General of Jammu and Kashmir Police Munir Khan along with GOC Army Victor Force BS Raju and IG CRPF Ravindeep Sahi addressing a joint press conference regarding the killings of Amarnath attack mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Kashmir chief Abu Ismail and Chota Ismail in Srinagar on Thursday. (PTI)

Delivering a major blow to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Kashmir, security forces killed two terrorists — including the alleged mastermind of a deadly attack on Amarnath yatris earlier this year — on the outskirts of Srinagar on Thursday evening.

LeT leader Abu Ismail (24) and his associate, Abu Kasim, were “eliminated” in the encounter at Nowgam, Jammu and Kashmir director general of police Shesh Paul Vaid said on Twitter, congratulating security forces.

Authorities in Srinagar on Friday imposed restrictions in parts of the city to prevent protests over the killings. Prohibitory orders under the Code of Criminal Procedure was clamped in Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, MR Gunj and Safa Kadal following Ismail’s death. On Thursday, the authorities snapped Internet services in Srinagar.

All colleges and higher secondary schools have been closed in the city as a precautionary measure. Train services between Baramulla and Bannihal have also been suspended.

Security forces suspected Ismail’s involvement in the killing of eight Amarnath Yatra pilgrims at Anantnag on July 10, although the LeT denied it, besides the attack on CRPF personnel near DPS-Srinagar in June. He is the fourth top militant leader to be killed in the Valley since 2016.

In a separate post, the official Twitter handle of the Indian Army’s Chinar Corps said:

Kashmir inspector general of police Muneer Khan confirmed Ismail’s death at a press conference on Thursday evening.

Khan said the duo was killed at Arigam in Nowgam in a joint operation of the army, CRPF and the police, launched on the basis of specific intelligence inputs.

“At 4.15 pm, contact was established with two terrorists who were in hiding. Both were killed in a very brief and crisp encounter, and there was no collateral damage,” he disclosed, adding that two rifles were recovered from the spot.

Both Ismail and Kasim hailed from Pakistan.

Ismail, an A-plus category militant involved in 15 criminal cases including murder, had taken over the reins of the LeT’s south Kashmir operations after his predecessor — Abu Dujana — was killed in an encounter last month.

Khan said the operation was successful because Kashmiris wanted the terrorists to pay for their crimes. “These people had attacked unarmed Amarnath yatris, and there was widespread condemnation of the attack,” he added.

Security forces are still hunting for two others, a local resident and a Pakistani militant, involved in the Anantnag attack.

Major General BS Raju, general officer commanding of Victor Force, said the operation was important because Ismail’s death was likely to create a vacuum in the LeT leadership.

Dujana (27) and another militant were shot dead in a shootout between militants and security forces at Pulwama’s Hakripora village on August 1. Hizbul Mujahideen leaders Burhan Wani and Sabzar Bhat were earlier killed by security forces.

First Published: Sep 14, 2017 17:37 IST