2 Jaish militants involved in Pulwama terror attack killed: Police
“Out of 19 accused in the Pulwama attack, eight have been killed so far”
Srinagar: Two top Jaish-e-Mohammad militants “involved in the Pulwama attack of 2019” were killed Saturday in an encounter in the south Kashmir district, officials said, terming it “probably the biggest strike of the year” for the security forces.
They said IED expert Ismal Alvi, who used several aliases including Saifullah, Lamboo and Adnan, was from the family of JeM chief Masood Azhar and had trained the suicide bomber who carried out the Pulwama attack which had left 40 CRPF personnel dead.
They said the second militant has been identified as Sameer Dar (an A+ category terrorist) from Pulwama. He was also involved in Pulwama attack and figured in an NIA chargesheet in the case, they added.
The February 14, 2019 attack was carried out by suicide bomber Adil Dar who rammed an explosive-laden vehicle in a CRPF convoy at Lethpora in Pulwama district on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, killing 40 CRPF personnel and injuring several others.
With Saturday’s development, “out of 19 accused in the Pulwama attack, eight terrorists have been killed so far,” said Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar.
“Lamboo was involved in conspiracy and planning of Lethpora Pulwama attack and figured in chargesheet produced by the NIA,” Kumar said.
The encounter happened this morning in the forest area of Namibian and Marsar and the general area of Dachigam in Pulwama after security forces launched a cordon and search operation “following inputs about the presence of terrorists there,” a police official said.
“The terrorists opened fire at a search party leading to an encounter in which the two terrorists were killed,” the official said.
At a joint press conference with the IGP Kashmir and the Victor Force head Maj Gen Rashim Bali, the GoC of the Army’s 15 or Chinar Corps, Lt Gen D P Pandey explained the significance of Lamboo’s killing.
“Firstly, it brings closure to the Pulwama incident because he was one of the masterminds for having trained a local youth Adil (Dar) who eventually blew himself up in the IED attack. Ever since, he has been responsible to continue to train people in making IED and deployment of IEDs against the security forces,” the Army officer said.
The GoC said the second very important facet of Lamboo’s neutralisation is that he has also been responsible for recruiting young locals “by brainwashing them”.
He was also responsible for carrying out “identification, selective identification, thereafter radicalising them and giving them weapons and putting them as the face of the overall strategy of our inimical agencies which are operating from across (the border)”.
“Thus, when these recruits were taken out, neutralised, it brought a face as if the entire movement is indigenised and (it is) a local movement which is not so,” he said.
IGP Kumar said Lamboo infiltrated into Kashmir in January 2017 through Sakargadh sector and “since then, he has been active in south Kashmir. There were 14 FIRs registered against him. He is the main accused in one of the biggest attacks that took place on February 14, 2019.”
“He had also visited several training camps of JeM in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has earlier escaped from many encounters, cordon and search operations including at Doniwari Chadoora Budgam on March 04, 2020, Parigam Jagir Pulwama on November 19, 2020 and Kalenvan, Bijbehara Anantnag on July 07, 2021,” a police spokesman said in a statement.
It said “there were 19 accused terrorists, OGWs involved in Lethpora terror attack case. Out of 19, seven terrorists including Adil Dar, Mudasir Khan, Umar Farooq, Kamran, Qari Yasir, Sajjad Bhat and today Mohammad Ismal Alvi alias Lamboo were killed in encounters; seven terrorists, OGWs have been arrested and five are still absconding,” police spokesman said.
The IGP said Lamboo was also involved in the killing of SPO Fayaz Ahmed, his wife and daughter in Tral last month.
“He used to train youth in IED making. So, with his killing the IED threat has been lessened not only in south Kashmir but in the whole valley,” he said.
The IGP said the time is not far when the JeM will be wiped out from Kashmir.
Giving details of the operation, the GoC of the south Kashmir-based Victor Force of the Army, Maj Gen Rashim Bali said there was a lot of intelligence from the police as well as the locals “about the movement and the way this gentleman has been ill-treating the locals there”.
“For the last 15 days, there were about three reports of his sexual misconduct with a few ladies also generally in the upper reaches of Dachigam forests,” he said.
Maj Gen Bali said as the security forces zeroed in on the location “the terrorists were alerted by barking dogs”.
“They tried to escape by using women and children as covers. They opened automatic fire and started lobbing grenades. The idea was that while we try to save the ladies and the children, they will try to make good their escape. There was retaliation and both of them were dropped dead within a matter of two-three minutes,” he said.
He said the security forces recovered an M-4 rifle with a telescopic sight used by Lamboo.
“We have recovered a Glock pistol — which is not there with every terrorist here. We have also recovered a Chinese pistol and an AK-47 rifle,” he said.
The GoC Victor Force said this has probably been the “biggest strike of the year” for the police and the security forces. “I am sure this will continue.”
Asked whether there was any other militant active in the Kashmir Valley belonging to the family of JeM chief Masood Azhar, the IGP said “as of now, there is no one from the family”.