“21-Member Jaish Squad Entered Kashmir In December”

Pulwama: A 21-member squad of Pakistani terror outfit Jaish-e-Muhammed, which included three suicide bombers, had infiltrated into J&K in December 2018 to launch three suicide attacks, including two outside the Valley, highly placed intelligence sources said.

JeM chief Masood Azhar’s nephew Mohammad Umair led the squad along with Kamran, who was killed in the encounter on Monday, sources told TOI. They were tasked with avenging the killing of Azhar’s other nephew Usman Haidar in October last year as well as the hanging of Afzal Guru, who was convicted for his role in the 2001 Parliament attack.

In a public address on February 5 caught on camera in Pakistan, Azhar’s younger brother Rauf Azghar had warned India of suicide attacks if the Modi government went ahead with Ram Mandir construction in Ayodhya. The highly trained and heavily armed special squad was supposed to divide itself into two groups, one led by Mudassir Khan and another by Shaheed Baba, sources said. However, Baba was killed by security forces in an encounter in Druvgam in Pulwama on February 1.

Of the three suicide bombers, Adil Ahmad Dar, a local Kashmiri, was chosen to carry out the February 14 bombing while the other two were assigned targets in Jammu and elsewhere, sources said.

In keeping with the known practice of JeM as well as Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group’s members were picked for suicide missions by drawing chits with their names mentioned in Urdu. Top J&K police sleuths told TOI initial meetings between JeM’s recruiters and local terrorists were held in Tral.

The two groups of the Jaish squad, sources said, procured 16 vehicles with numbers registered between 1990 and 1995, the conspirators deliberately going for old vehicles to avoid being detected easily. (ToI)

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