A top commander of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) outfit, who was the mastermind of 2019 Pulwama fidayeen (suicide) attack, in which 40 CRPF men were killed, was neutralized along with his accomplice in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Saturday.
Abu Saifullah alias Adnan Ismail alias Lamboo, a close relative of the Jaish chief Masood Azhar, had infiltrated into Kashmir in 2017 and was on the list of most-wanted militants in the Valley, police said.
GOC 15 Corps Lieutenant General Devendra Pratap Pandey, told reporters here that based on an input, an operation was launched in dense woods of the Dachigam area of Pulwama on July 27.
"Today morning, contact was established with the terrorists and in the ensuing encounter, Jaish’s IED expert Lamboo was killed along with his associate,” he said.
The GOC, who was flanked by Inspector General Police (IGP) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, termed the killing of Lamboo as a major success for security forces.
He said the slain commander was responsible for carrying out attacks on civilians and security forces, recruiting young boys and brainwashing them. “Lamboo is a relative of the Jaish chief Masood Azhar and there were 14 FIRs registered against him. He was the mastermind and main accused in the February 14, 2019 Pulwama fidayeen attack,” the IGP said.
He said there are 19 accused in the Pulwama attack and among them seven have been arrested and seven have been killed so far. “Five are still absconding,” Kumar added.
Lamboo, who was an expert in breaking the security cordons, had earlier escaped from many encounters including at Doniwari, Chadoora in Budgam on March 3, 2020, Parigam Jagir in Pulwama on November 19, 2020 and Kalenvan, Bijbehara in Anantnag on July 7 2021.
“He (Lamboo) was an expert on vehicle-borne IED, which is routinely used in Afghanistan and also in the Pulwama attack of 2019. He tried to re-establish and strengthen the Jaish outfit and utilise Awantipora, especially the Kakpora and Pampore areas of Pulwama, as a hotbed for recruiting new terrorists and transporting them to other parts for carrying out attacks,” police revealed.
Police said the identity of the second slain militant was awaited, adding that an M-4 rife, AK-47 rifle, a Glock pistol was recovered from the encounter site.
On February 14, 2019, Kashmiri fidayeen militant Adil Ahmed rammed his vehicle packed with explosives into a paramilitary bus they were travelling in on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway in Pulwama. In the worst casualties suffered by the security forces in peacetime operations, 40 CRPF personnel were killed and several others wounded.
The Jaish terror outfit had claimed responsibility for the attack and released a video clip of the suicide bomber which it claimed was shot before the young man carried out the audacious attack in Lethpora, about 30 km from here.