Amarnath Yatra attack mastermind Abu Ismail, aide killed

Srinagar, Sep 14: Abu Ismail, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist operating in Kashmir and “mastermind of Amarnath Yatra attack” was killed in an encounter with security forces in Aribagh area of Nowgam on the outskirts of Srinagar.
The encounter ensued after a joint team of Police and 50 RR cordoned off the area following inputs about the presence of terrorists.
As the security forces tightened the cordon, the hiding terrorists opened fire on the security forces triggering an encounter.
Two foreign terrorists, both Pakistan nationals, were killed in this encounter, including Abu Ismail, the top LeT commander, who planned and carried out the attack on a bus of Amarnath Yatris in Batengoo area of Anantnag district on July 10 this year that left eight pilgrims dead.
The other terrorist killed in this encounter was Abu Qasim alias Chotta Qasim.
15 FIRs were lodged against Abu Ismail and he was involved in number of terror attacks in south Kashmir, including several on Police and other security forces.
He was involved in several attacks on security forces convoys at Sempora (One CRPF personnel martyred), Zewan Crossing (One Police personnel martyred), Nowgam (One CRPF personnel got injured), Pampore (Three soldiers martyred) and K.P. Road (Two police personnel martyred).
Moreover, he was involved in grenade attacks on Army camp at Kakapora and Police Post Kakapora. He was also involved in recent grenade attack at Lal Chowk in which one civilian lost his life and 25 civilians got injured.
running for their lives.
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Munir Khan addressing the media said that other terrorist has been identified as Abu Qasim alias Chota Qasim.
He was flanked by General Officer Commanding of the Army’s Victor Force, Major General B S Raju, and IG CRPF Ravideep Singh Sahi.
Khan said the “The bodies of the slain terrorists have been kept at the appropriate place for appropriate disposal,” he said.
The IGP said two AK rifles, UBGLs and other material were recovered from them.
He said Ismail was involved in 15 cases including the July 10 attack on a bus carrying Amarnath yatra pilgrims in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district which left eight of them dead.
“After the elimination of Abu Dujana, he (Ismail) had taken over as the chief of LeT in the valley. He was involved in around 15 criminal cases in valley which included murder, dacoities and other militancy related incidents. So, I compliment our teams for executing a wonderful operation with no collateral damage,” Khan said.
“The day they (militants) killed yatris, the people said that such they should be brought to justice and today they have been brought to justice. It is a great success for the security forces. A chapter of these terrorists has been closed. Tomorrow will be a new day for us. We will start our work afresh.
“When the attack took place, there was total condemnation of the act committed by terrorists from all sections of the society and people said loud and clear that these killers must be killed. So, from that day onwards, these killers were our targets and our teams – whether they be police, army or the CRPF – were looking for them,” he said.
He thanked the people for “expressing that sentiment that time because that was against Kashmiriyat. No Kashmiri liked that”.
Asked whether all the militants behind the attack have been neutralised, the IGP said “One foreign and one local terrorists are left.”
He said Ismail was an “A++” category militant while Qasim was “A+” category, but refused to share further details of the operation.
“It is better not to ask such questions because they are operational details which we do not want to divulge. It is not that whole militancy has been wiped out by their killing. So, it is better not to divulge the details,” he said.
Khan said the priority of the security forces is to neutralise the militant leadership in the valley.
“Militant leadership is important to be neutralised. That has to be eliminated because they not only are militants but also provoke and motivate children. The priority is to neutralise the militant leadership. You know who are the leaders and they will be our next target,” he said.
He, however, said “we have a long way to go and we will keep on trying.”
Maj Gen Raju said Ismail’s killing is extremely important because he was responsible for the death of about 14 security forces personnel and eight civilians.
“This success is also important because we are expecting vacuum in the foreign terrorists’ leadership of the LeT. After the death of Abu Qasim, then Abu Dujana and now Ismail. In between we also killed (Abu) Ali. Now, we are looking at a serious deficiency in their leadership which should give us more opportunities,” he said.
Furthermore, he was involved in bank robberies at J&K Bank branches of Malpora Charisharief, Arihal Pulwama and Ratnipora Pulwama. Besides, he was also involved in killing of Sarpanches of Kandizal and Kakapora.
Two AK 47 rifles and some other materials were seized from the slain terrorists.