Press Trust of india

Arrested trucker ferried Jaish militants in December 2019 too: Officials

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Jammu/Srinagar, Feb 02 :  Sameer Dar, the cousin of the February 2019 Pulwama suicide bomber Adil Dar, has told interrogators that he had dropped a batch of militants to the Valley in December last year, officials said here on Sunday, two days after the former was arrested while attempting to ferry Jaish-e-Mohammed militants to Kashmir in a truck.

Sameer was nabbed by police when he was trying to escape from Nagrota on Friday after Jaish militants opened fire on security forces.

“Hailing from Kakpora area of Pulwama district in South Kashmir, Sameer confessed he had been successful in ferrying JeM militants to the Kashmir Valley last year and dropped them to Pulwama,” the officials said.

Sameer claimed he was not aware about their whereabouts since but told the interrogators that they were carrying large ammunition including ‘steel core bullets’ — which can pierce through a normal bullet-proof vehicle.

This has triggered an alarm bell within the security establishment especially Border Security Force (BSF), which guards the International Border with Pakistan, as the force has been maintaining in its inter-departmental meetings that there has been no infiltration from the border.

On February 14 last year, Sameer’s cousin Adil blew himself in an explosive-laden car next to a CRPF bus killing 40 personnel.

“Sameer told his interrogators that infiltration from across the border has been continuing and the militants were fanning in various parts of the south Kashmir especially in Pulwama and Tral areas,” the officials said.

Sameer also told them that the militants were dropped at Kareemabad in south Kashmir. He also gave the details of the arms and ammunition being carried by the militants, indicating that the group also had M-4 carbine and ammunition of steel core bullets.

The steel core bullet has the capability to pierce through a static bullet proof bunker used during counterterrorism operations, the officials said.

The first assault with such bullet was noticed on the New Year eve in 2017 when JeM militants had carried out a suicide attack on a CRPF camp in Lethpora in south Kashmir.

Five personnel of the paramilitary force were killed in the attack and one of them was hit by a bullet fatally even though he was using a static bullet-proof shield provided by the Army, officials said.

A thorough inquiry into the attack showed that the bullet fired by the militant from the AK assault rifle was of steel core.

The AK bullets used in the armoury have a lead core covered with mild steel which cannot penetrate a bullet-proof shield but after December 31, 2017 encounter and subsequent findings, the rules of the proxy-war changed, the officials said.

A detailed analysis of the previous suicide attacks was carried out.

The analysis of the militant attack on district police lines of Pulwama in south Kashmir in August 2017 showed that ‘steel core’ bullets had been used by the militants in that encounter with security personnel, the officials said. Eight security personnel had lost their lives in the attack.

The ammunition, according to the officials, was being modified from across the border with the help of Chinese technology of encasing the bullet with hard steel core.

The officials said the militants carrying M-4 carbine used by the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan have been extensively trained by the Pakistan’s external snooping agency ISI and could be used for carrying out sniper attacks in Kashmir Valley.

The weapons may have changed hands to Jaish-e-Mohammed group as they were fighting along with Talibans in Afghanistan. The weapons are also used by the special forces of Pakistan Army.

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