<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Security forces dealt a major blow to terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba on Thursday when they killed its chief operations commander and prime accused in the Amarnath Yatra attack case, Abu Ismail, along with his associate Abu Qasim in a brief encounter at Aragam-Nowgam on Srinagar’s outskirts.The police said both Abu Ismail and Abu Qasim alias Chota Qasim were Pakistani nationals, involved in serious militancy-related crimes, including murder and dacoity.Operating in South Kashmir for the last 25 years, the 20-something Abu Ismail had been part of almost all attacks on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway. Abu Ismail was wanted in 15 FIRs, and was directly involved in the killing of 14 security personnel and eight civilians.Abu Ismail alias Haroon, along with Mavya and Furqan, all Pakistanis, and a local terrorist Yawar Bashir were involved in attacking the Amarnath Yatra bus on July 10 at Botengoo in Anantnag district in which eight yatris were killed and 20 others injured.”There was total condemnation of this act from all sections of society. People said loud and clear that these killers must be killed. From that day onwards, these killers were our target and our teams — whether from police, Army or CRPF — were working. You can understand the efforts that have been put in to execute this operation,” said Munir Ahmad Khan, inspector general of police, Kashmir Zone.The operation was launched after the police received specific information about the presence of the militants in a single-storey house in Aragam-Nowgam. A joint operation was launched by 50 Rashtriya Riffles, police and CRPF to hunt down the militants.”At around 4.15 pm, contact was established with two hiding terrorists in a house there. In a very brief and crisp encounter, both terrorists were killed. Two AK riffles and other materials were recovered from the slain terrorists,” said Khan.Ismail had taken over the command of LeT after the elimination of Abu Dujana on August 1. “It is great success for the security forces. Chapter of Ismail has been closed. Tomorrow will be new day for us. We will start work afresh,” said Khan.Major General BS Raju, general officer commanding of Indian Army’s Victor Force, said they are expecting the vacuum in foreign terrorist leadership of LeT after the killing of Ismail.”We are looking at serious deficiencies in their (foreign militant) leadership which should give us more opportunities. We will continue these kinds of operations to neutralise the remnant people which should bring some peace and clam in the valley”, said Major General Raju.After the killing of Abu Ismail, two more militants involved in Amarnath attack are at large. “One foreign and one local terrorist are still left. Militant leadership is important and that has to be eliminated because these motivate and instigate young boys to join the cobweb of militancy. Priority is to eliminate the militant leadership,” said Khan.
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