Addressing a press conference, Muneer Khan, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Jammu and Kashmir revealed that a joint operation was launched in Nowgam after contact was established at 4.15 pm with the two militants hiding in a house in the area. Khan identified the two militants killed in the encounter as Abu Ismail and Abu Qasim alias Chota Qasim. “In a brief, crisp encounter, both terrorists were shot dead,” said Khan.
Following the killing of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander and Amarnath Yatra attack mastermind Abu Ismail in Nowgam on Thursday, Muneer congratulated the security forces for executing a wonderful, crisp and brief operation without any “collateral damage”.
“Abu Ismail had 15 FIRs against him for murder, dacoity and other militancy related incidents,” Khan said adding that two AK-47 rifles and other materials were recovered from the dead bodies.
Khan also congratulated the police, CRPF personnel and 15 Rashtriya Rifles soldiers for “executing a wonderful operation with no collateral damage”.
Khan refused to divulge further information about the encounter, however, he expressed relief, stating that “a chapter of terrorists has been closed”.
“Tomorrow is a new day and we will start work afresh,” he said.
Ismail, responsible for the Amarnath Yatra attack on 10 July which killed seven pilgrims, was shot dead in an encounter in a fierce gun battle in Nowgam on the outskirts of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.
Major General BS Raju, general officer commanding of Victor Force said that the encounter was an important one because Ismail was directly responsible for the death of 14 security personnel and eight civilians.
“We are expecting a vacuum in the LeT leadership now, which should give us more opportunities. Meanwhile, the synergy between all agencies will continue,” he said.
When asked who their next “target” is, Khan said, “It’s not about the next target. Ismail was an A++ category terrorist. It is important to neutralise the militant leadership.”
It was reported that a manhunt had been launched to hunt down Ismail, a Pakistani national, following the attack on Amarnath Yatra pilgrims in July. Seven yatris had died in the attack. Ismail was believed to be the mastermind behind the terror attack.
Ismail had replaced former LeT commander Abu Dujana following the latter’s death during an encounter in August.