Two days after security forces gunned Lashkar-e-Taiba's Kashmir commander Abu Ismail, in one of the briefest encounters in the state's militancy-infested history, the Pakistan-based terrorist group has reportedly chosen Zeenat-ul-Islam as its new Kashmir commander.
India Today quoted intelligence inputs as saying that Islam, who is also known as Alqama, is the first local to be made the operational commander of the Pakistan-based terrorist group.
However, The Times of India report stated that there is no independent verification whether Islam has been appointed as Ismail's successor.
"We'll have to wait and see. No local has been made LeT chief so far, to my knowledge," an intelligence officer told The Times of India on Friday.
"Zeenat was over ground worker (OGW) of Al-Badr and was arrested in 2008 but was eventually released four years later following which he joined LeT," The Times of India quoted a senior police official as saying.
According to India Today, Islam is 28-year-old and hails from Sugan Zanipura in Shopian. Financial Express reported that Islam graduated from a local college, adding that his father is an imam in a Shopian mosque.
The Times of India reported that Islam is an expert in making improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and was working with another terrorist outfit, Al-Badr, for over two years before joining the Lashkar in 2015.
Media reports pointed out that Islam is the mastermind of the 23 February 2017 attack in Shopian, which killed three soldiers and injured four others.
Media reports said that Islam is one of the five most wanted terrorists in the Valley, along with Zakir Musa, Riyaz Naikoo, Wasim AH,and Abu Hamas, who heads the Jaish-e-Mohammed in the Valley.
If Islam's appointment is confirmed, then he will be the third militant in 2017 to take charge as the LeT's operational commander. Before Ismail, who is considered the mastermind of the 11 July attack on the Amarnath Yatra, which killed seven pilgrims, the Lashkar's operations were being run by Abu Dujana, who was gunned down in an encounter with security forces in Pulwama on 2 August.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Sep 17, 2017 08:35 AM