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Pulwama attack: Top Indian security officials suspect Masood Azhar’s nephew to be the mastermind

There’s snow and slush, they added, and the blast was so powerful that mangled human remains and auto parts are all they have to work with.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2019 07:33 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times
masood azhar,pulwama attack,pulwama terror attack
People burn an effigy of Jaish-e-Mohammed’s leader Masood Azhar after an attack on security forces in Kashmir’s Pulwama that left 43 soldiers dead and many others injured, in Lucknow, India, on Friday, February 15, 2019.(Deepak Gupta /Hindustan Times)

Top Indian security and counter-intelligence officials said the mastermind behind the horrific terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama is suspected to be Mohammed Umair, the son of Athar Ibrahim, who is the elder brother of Jaish-e-Mohammad founder and chief Masood Azhar.

While the bomber, 22-year-old Adil Ahmad Dar, was killed, officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity added that the bomb-maker is currently in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). They did not provide a name for the bomb-maker and said he goes by several — all believed to be covers.

Officials said that conditions of the blast area are hindering investigations.

Watch| ‘Big mistake’: PM Modi’s stern warning to terror outfits

There’s snow and slush, they added, and the blast was so powerful that mangled human remains and auto parts are all they have to work with. However, officials said they have found what they believe are parts of the axle of the vehicle used in the suicide bombing, and that they are hopeful that they can piece it together, perhaps even use it to trace its provenance and ownership.

Also read | Covert ops, air attack among India’s options to avenge Pulwama terror attack

None of the remains of the bomber, who drove a vehicle laden with explosives into a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bus, have been found either.

According to the officials, Umair is currently operating in the Pulwama area, where Talha Rasheed, son of Abdul Rasheed Kamran, Azhar’s brother-in-law, was killed in an encounter with security forces on November 7, 2016.

Officials said Umair was trained in terror operations in Afghanistan and moved into the Pulwama area after the death of his brother Usman Haider in a police encounter in Tral last October.

The JeM, which is behind recent terror strikes in India, including the Uri headquarters and Pathankot air base, is run in India by Rauf Asghar, the younger brother of ailing Masood Azhar.

A high-level National Security Guard’s bomb team visited the spot and initial investigations suggest that the bomb was made of 100-150 kg of RDX.

The NSG team could not find traces of any other explosives as the spot. There is no clarity as to how RDX in such quantities reached Pulwama and then was fitted into the vehicle.

Also read | Pulwama suicide bomber, 22, lived 10km from spot

First Published: Feb 15, 2019 23:08 IST