After a terror attack killed seven Amarnath yatra pilgrims on Monday, security agencies have launched a manhunt to hunt down the alleged mastermind of the attack, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Abu Ismail, News18 reported.
According to the report, Ismail, a Pakistani national, is considered the successor of Abu Dujana, the slain commander of the LeT in the Valley.
“We have identified Ismail and two other men who were with him during the attack. We have also identified the people who drove them to their spot and who brought them their weapons. We know the direction in which the terrorists are hidden and we’ll hunt them down soon,” a senior police Jammu and Kashmir police official told News18.
Meanwhile, security forces claimed that for the first time in the history of Kashmiri militancy, two terror outfits — LeT and Hizbul Mujaheedin — have come together to carry out an operation. They said this is significant because the Hizbul usually refrains from attacking pilgrims.
“Yes, Hizbul’s policy of not attacking pilgrims now seems to be changing and this is going to be a big change and big challenge for us. Although with the current scenario, this wasn’t quite unexpected also. At the moment, we’re just preparing ourselves to prevent a repeat attack,” News18 quoted the officer as saying.
Of the seven dead, five belonged to Gujarat while two were from Maharashtra. The bodies of those from Gujarat were flown home on Tuesday morning.
The 40-day yatra, which began on 28 June, saw thousands of personnel from the army, BSF, CRPF and state police pressed into service to ensure the pilgrims' security.
There have been three major terror strikes at Amarnath pilgrims since 2000.
On 2 August, 2000, five places in Jammu and Kashmir were attacked by militants resulting in the death of 89 people, including 21 Amarnath pilgrims.
At least 13 people were killed and 15 others injured when a militant hurled grenades at a camp and later fired indiscriminately near the Amarnath cave on 20 July, 2001.
On 30 July, 2002, two pilgrims were killed and three injured when militants hurled grenades at a taxi in Srinagar which was on its way to the Amarnath cave base camp. Just a week later, on 6 August, three LeT terrorists opened fire inside the Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camp, killing nine people and injuring 27.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jul 11, 2017 13:18 PM