Abu Qasim shifted 9 LeT militants to South Kashmir

Fayaz Bukhari
Srinagar, Oct 30: Abu Qasim, top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander, who was killed yesterday at Kulgam had strengthened the LeT outfit last week in South Kashmir after shifting a group of nine highly trained militants from Bandipora forests of North Kashmir.
Sources said these LeT militants who are 17-20 years of age are highly trained and Qasim carried them last week from Bandipora to South Kashmir where they have formed several small modules.
Security forces have launched massive operation against this new LeT group in South Kashmir but they are believed have formed small modules with two foreigners in each group. The LeT is also believed to have established new network as its previous network was busted after Naveed gave vital clues to security agencies about it.
Security agencies say that there were only three foreign militants of LeT left in South Kashmir after Qasim’s killing. These include Abu Dujana, Abu Ukasha and Chaha. Two of them had infiltrated early this year along with Mohammad Usman alias Naved who was arrested in Udhampur after carrying out an attack on a BSF convoy in August this year. With the coming of nine more militants, there are now 12 LeT foreign militants who are on security forces radar.
Earlier, Qasim had gone to Bandipora on October 7 to facilitate the movement of the LeT group to South Kashmir. But, he was intercepted by police on way to Bandipora at Gund Dachin area, leading to a brief encounter in which Sub-Inspector Altaf Ahmad was killed and Qasim and his associate managed to escape.
Two weeks after killing of Altaf Ahmad, Qasim again went to Bandipora and shifted these 9 militants to South Kashmir. These nine militants were in Bandipora forests for the past two months along with 8 other LeT men. All of them are believed to have infiltrated early this year and were in the forests of Kupwara before they shifted to Bandipora due to intense security pressure in which 54 militants were killed in North Kashmir this year, including those killed on the Line of Control (LoC) while infiltrating.
Army, Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have launched a massive search operation four days ago against the LeT group of around 8 militants who are hiding in Bandipora forests. Qasim was in the process of shifting these militants to South Kashmir before he was killed yesterday.
The operation against the group is going on and one Army jawan was killed so far. Army’s 13, 14, 22, 27, 29, 30, 31, 32 and 52 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and 7 para-commandos are involved in the operation besides Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir Police and CRPF. They want to tackle these militants in forest areas only and don’t want to allow them to move out as their other members did manage.

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