Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar’s kin linked to foiled J&K plot
The initial investigation into last week’s failed bombing in Pulwama’s Ayangund area has revealed the involvement of Mohammad Ismail Alvi, alias Lambu -- a close relative of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar and the current head of the Jaish in the Valley -- who also played a key role in February 14, 2019 suicide bombing that killed 40 CRPF troopers, according to two counterterrorism officers familiar with the matter.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is likely to take over the probe of the failed bombing soon, the officials added. Ismail Lambu is already wanted by the federal agency for last year’s attack.
One of the officers cited above said that Lambu, who is often referred to as Ismail Bhai and also goes by the moniker Fauji Baba, came to India sometime in late 2018 and helped Mudassir Khan, Khalid, and Mohammad Umar Farooq (last year’s Pulwama attack co-conspirators who were killed in encounters a month later) in collecting explosive material including gelatin sticks from stone quarries in the Valley, and ammonium nitrate from local shops.
He took over the reins of Jaish in Kashmir this January after its Kari Mufti Yasir was killed by Indian forces.
Ismail is an IED expert and helped other bombers of February 14, 2019 attack fit the bomb in Maruti Eeco van,” said the officer.
Ismail’s deputy Sameer Ahmed Dar was also involved in last year’s suicide bombing, which was followed by an Indian launching air strike on a terror facility in Pakistan’s Balakot, and a subsequent dogfight between the air forces of the two countries.
“We have information that Ismail Lambu planned to carry out similar car bombing in one of the camps or a convoy. The bomb was placed in the Santro car but it was detected on time in the wee hours on Thursday (May 28),” a second officer said.
Forensic experts have hinted that the unexploded bomb was made of RDX, ammonium nitrate and nitroglycerin -- the same combination as the 2019 Pulwama bomb.
“The similarities in both incidents shows the signature of JeM although it appears that Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba also may have participated in last week’s attempt as all the outfits are under pressure from Pakistan army to conduct a spectacular terror strike” the second officer said.
The officers said they are scouring several “virtual mobile numbers”, social media accounts and emails to ascertain further plans of JeM, LeT and HM, which are operating under the banner of The Resistance Front (TRF), a front propped up by Pakistan to avoid embarrassment at international level.
A virtual mobile number works through a server for which users sign up for a service by downloading and app on their smartphones. A number is generated by the app syncing it with a social media platform or an email account without linking it to a SIM card.