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Lashkar commander, Amarnath attack mastermind: Who was Abu Ismail?  

Abu Ismail was the alleged mastermind of the deadly attack on Amarnath yatris who were ambushed by militants while they were returning from the pilgrimage in July

india Updated: Sep 15, 2017 10:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Lashkar e Taiba,Amarnath attack,Abu Ismail
Security personnel guard after a brief encounter with militants at Aribagh Nowgam on the outskirts of Srinagar.(PTI Photo)

Abu Ismail, the Lashkar-e-Toiba leader killed by security forces in Kashmir’s Nowgam on Thursday, was on the security forces’ radar after the July attack on Amarnath pilgrims in the state.

Ismail, 24, was also blamed for the attack on CRPF personnel near DPS-Srinagar in June. He was a Pakistani and is the fourth top militant leader to be killed in the Valley since 2016.

There were 15 criminal cases, including murder, against Ismail who had taken over the reins of the LeT’s south Kashmir operations after his predecessor Abu Dujana was killed in an encounter last month.

Sources in the security and intelligence communities had hinted at some kind of ‘one-upmanship’ between Ismail and Dujana, who is also known by the name of Hafiz and is considered to be from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).

Dujana was reportedly challenged by Ismail who set up a rival faction along with some Kashmiri youth. Sources said most of militant incidents involving LeT was carried done by the rival group, including the attack on Amarnath yatris. A few months ago, the lesser known Abu Ismail was made the LeT chief in the Valley while Dujama was disarmed after the rift.

A massive hunt was launched in south Kashmir to track down Ismail after the Amarnath attack. The Police was following intelligence leads regarding Ismail’s associates, hideouts used and communication intercepts. He was known to be active in the Anantnag and Pampore areas.

The Indian Express said Ismail shifted his based from Anantnag after the Amarnath attack and kept moving between Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama. His latest movement was traced to south Kashmir and a team of Jammu and Kashmir Police along with the Army killed him in Nowgam.

It is believed Ismail was helped by members of another militant group Hizbul Mujahideen, which provided logistics during the attack, a report by the Financial Express said.

First Published: Sep 15, 2017 10:47 IST