A top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander, who was accused of killing eight Amarnath Yatra pilgrims earlier this year, was gunned down by security forces in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Naugam region today.
Abu Ismail, who was in his 30s, had been a part of the Lashkar’s active team for the last seven years. He had activated the overground operatives of the Lashkar in the Valley to carry out the Amarnath attack.
On July 10, Lashkar terrorists had attacked a bus carrying pilgrims in Batengo area of the Srinagar-Jammu highway, leaving eight pilgrims dead.
The probe into the Amarnath attack shows that the terrorists wanted to take some of the pilgrims hostages. A reconnaissance of the route was conducted for three days.Ismail had virtually taken over the LeT operational command from Abu Dujana and was seen more active in organizing the network of the overground workers.
The July 10 attack on Amarnath Yatra pilgrims took place despite specific intelligence input on June 25 that terrorists may target pilgrims.
On July 10, terrorists had first fired at two police posts before fleeing and then opening fire at the bus that was carrying a group of pilgrims returning from the Amarnath Yatra.
The bus was not officially registered with the Amarnath Shrine Board and was without a police escort.Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti while condemning the attack had said that Kashmiris’ heads hang in shame.
The Amarnath terror attack was the worst since 2000 when 30 Amarnath pilgrims were killed after terrorists attacked a base camp in Pahalgam.