Following the horrific Amarnath yatra attack, security forces have been on the trail of Abu Ismail, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist. Ismail the mastermind of the attack was killed in an encounter with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.
Intelligence Bureau officials say that since the attack, there had been a manhunt for Ismail. At times we came close to trapping him and there were a couple of misses as well.
By Wednesday evening, we had zeroed down on his location and after making sure that the terrorist was really him, operations were launched on Wednesday. In fact the intelligence that was picked up on him suggested that he was planning a major strike on the outskirts of Srinagar. He was killed in the nick of time, the officer also said.
While Ismail had associates in the attack, the security forces wanted to gun down the top boss first. Officials say that this year the focus has been on the commanders or the leaders of the outfit. When the top boss is shot dead, the cronies below him shake and hence this strategy was adopted, the officer also noted.
In July terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba opened fired on a bus from Gujarat carrying pilgrims. 8 yatris were killed in the attack. Detailed investigations showed that Ismail was involved in the attack. The police said that he had masterminded the attack and was also present at the crime scene. He was the first to open fire on the bus, the police also said.
The killing of Ismail is a major success. He is the fourth A++ terrorist to be killed in Kashmir in recent months after Abu Dujana, Sabzar Bhat and Burhan Wani.
Ismail in his mid 30s had been part of the Lashkar for the past seven years. He was part of a camp comprising 200 terrorists who had been training to launch attacks in India. He recently took over as the Lashkar chief in Kashmir from Abu Dujana who was killed in an encounter.