Lashkar-e-Taiba Commander Killed in Nowgam Encounter

Srinagar—Police Thursday said that wanted Lashkar-e-Taiba Commander Abu Ismail along with his associate, was killed at Aribagh, Nowgam in Srinagar outskirts. Police said the slain commander Abu Ismail was involved in the attack on Amarnath yatris in July.

Addressing a press conference at PCR, IGP Munir Khan said that police had “specific information” about presence of the two militants hiding in a house in Nowgam.

“Two hiding terrorists were killed in very brief encounter without any collateral damage,” Khan said, adding two AK 47 rifles, UBGLs and other ammunition was recovered from the slain militants.

The IGP said that the two militants were identified as Abu Ismail, who was LeT commander, and Abu Qasim aka Chotta Qasim.

IGP Khan was flanked by IG CRPF Ravideep Sahai and an army commander.

8 Hindu pilgrims were killed and 20 others were injured in the attack at highway township of Khanabal in Anantnag district on July 10. The attack evoked widespread condemnation from all sections of society in Kashmir, including from Hurriyat Conference.

The IGP said that the operation was carried out jointly by army, CRPF and police in a coordinated manner.

Khan said people across the board had wished that those responsible for the dastardly attack on pilgrims should get deserving punishment.

Khan said following intelligence inputs about the presence of Abu Ismail in Aarigam (Nowgam) area on the outskirts of Srinagar, an operation was immediately launched.

“We could establish contact with the hiding militants around 4.15 p.m and after a brief encounter both terrorists were killed,” he said.

The officer said other details of the operation cannot be shared now.

Police claims that the killing of Ismail has created leadership vacuum in Lashkar as almost all the known local and foreign commanders of the group have been killed this year.

Abu Ismail had succeeded Abu Dujana, who was killed in July this year along with Arif Lelhari at Pulwama. Although Dujana had reportedly left Lashkar and joined Zakir Musa’s Ansar Ghazwatul Hind after its formation. Earlier he had played important role in strengthening the LeT.

Meanwhile, clashes erupted in Argam and its adjoining areas soon after the killing of Ismail. Local youths took to streets and pelted stones on government forces. Police fired teargas canisters to disperse the protesters. The shops and other commercial establishments were also closed in these areas while internet services across Srinagar were blocked but later restored.

Meanwhile Lashkar paid rich tributes to Abu Ismail and Abu Qasim and warned ‘informers of dire consequences’.

Quoting Shah in a statement issued to news agency GNS , LeT spokesman Dr Abdullah Ghaznavi said “martyrdom was an important path of struggle and guarantees freedom. Our spirits are high and our vow for freedom has not minimized a bit. We will continue armed struggle till goal of freedom is achieved,” said the LeT chief.


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