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Srinagar attack: Who is Abu Hanzala and why him being on the run is ‘very bad news’

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    There was more desperation rather than daredevilry in the Srinagar attack which took place today. Terrorists helped a Pakistani terrorist escape after snatching away a rifle and shooting at the police.

    Abu Hanzala

    The terrorist in question is Abu Hanzala, a close aide of Abu Dujana, the commander of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba who was killed in an encounter last year. Dujana was replaced with Abu Islamil, but he bit the bullet as well. Intelligence Bureau officials say that the escape bid was a plan to get the Lashkar-e-Tayiba a commander in Kashmir.

    Hanzala is an important player in the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. He was arrested a few years back from South Kashmir in a joint operation by the Rashtriya Rifles and CRPF.

    Hailing from Pakistan, he is the son of a driver who worked in the Pakistan Army. He studied at the madrasa that were run by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the financial arm of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

    He had entered India in 2012 through Keran in North Kashmir. A resident of Multan, he joined a group of 21 terrorists in Kashmir before moving to the southern part of the state.

    His first big strike in Kashmir when he killed a police officer at Pulwama in May 2013. He also led a group of terrorists which attacked an Army camp and police patrol parties at Tral, Kulgam and Shopian. He had risen up the ranks in the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and had he not been arrested he would have succeeded Dujana instead of Ismail, the mastermind of the Amarnath Yatra attack.

    Investigations being conducted into the Srinagar attack suggest that it was a pre-planned one and aimed only at freeing Hanzala. The Lashkar-e-Tayiba is in desperate need of a leader in Kashmir and with its commanders getting killed back to back, Hanzala was their answer.

    Hanzala is known to be a lethal terrorist who carries out big attacks. His primary targets have been the Indian Army and the police. He trained at the Borevalla Sahiwala camp in Multan and became a hardened terrorists before being launched into Kashmir. He is known to carry out sensational attacks and the last one he undertook before his arrest was the shooting inside the Pulwama court complex in 2014.

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