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Sunjuwan mastermind dead: Police intercepted Mufti Waqas’ conversations with terrorists

Director general of Jammu and Kashmir police SP Vaid confirmed that Sunjuwan terrorists were in touch with their handler, Mufti Waqas, during the terror strike that lasted over 48 hours. Waqas was a key associate of Jaish chief Masood Azhar, responsible for attack on Pathankot air base in 2016.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2018 07:17 IST
Harinder Baweja
Harinder Baweja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Sunjuwan mastermind dead,Mufti Waqas,Pakistani handlers
Terrorists attacked Sunjuwan Military Station in Jammu on February 10 in which six soldiers and one civilian were killed. (PTI File Photo)

Technology finally did him in. Mufti Waqas, the operational commander of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, who masterminded the attack on the army camp in Sunjuwan on February 10, was finally tracked down to a house in Kashmir Valley’s Awantipora and shot dead after a two-hour encounter.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police had been hunting for him after the Sunjuwan attack that killed six soldiers and one civilian. It was sure of his involvement in the strike on the army camp after it intercepted conversations between him and the three terrorists who stormed the camp on the outskirts of Jammu.

Waqas, believed by officials to have infiltrated the Valley from Pakistan in mid-2017 was a key associate of Jaish chief, Masood Azhar, who was responsible for the attack on the air force base in Pathankot in January 2016.

SP Vaid, director general, Jammu and Kashmir Police, confirmed that the Sunjuwan terrorists were in touch with their handler, Waqas, during the terror strike that lasted over 48 hours.

“The terrorists were communicating with a Pakistani national who they were reporting to in the Valley,’’ Vaid said on February 13. He confirmed on Tuesday that the Pakistani national was Waqas, who was eliminated in an encounter Monday night. “He was the one communicating with the terrorists,’’ Vaid confirmed.

According to police officials, Waqas’s elimination is a ‘big step’ in the fight against militancy because he is believed to have been instrumental in indoctrinating two local Kashmiri militants who carried out a suicide attack on a CRPF camp in South Kashmir’s Lethpora on December 31.

The only other time a local blew himself up was in April 2000 when 17-year-old Afaq Ahmad Shah drove a stolen Maruti car laden with explosives into the high-security barrier of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps headquarter.

Waqas’s phone was being intercepted even before the Sunjuwan attack, a police official who did not want to be identified, revealed. The police, however, were not aware of the Sunjuwan terror attack till his voice surfaced once again after the army camp came under attack.

First Published: Mar 07, 2018 07:14 IST