Lashkar, not Hizbul Mujahideen, suspected to be behind Srinagar attack

Sri

The attack on an Army convoy at Hyderpora in Srinagar on Monday, in which eight soldiers were killed, is believed to have been carried out by Pakistani terrorists belonging to the Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Even though the Hizbul Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attack, security agencies are convinced that the two attackers were part of a group of 10 Pakistani LeT terrorists who had infiltrated in two batches last October.

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The two men, sources said, were heard speaking in Urdu, indicating that they were from Pakistan and not Kashmiri-origin militants who make up much of Hizbul's cadre.

While the hunt for the attackers is on, they said Monday's attack has confirmed the increased threat to the Amarnath Yatra. This had first emerged after the arrest of LeT divisional commander in north Kashmir, Fahadullah, a couple of months back. Security agencies learnt about the infiltration of the LeT terrorists through his interrogation.

Fahadullah, believed to be from Multan in Pakistan, had set up base in north Kashmir and told interrogators that he had received two batches of Pakistani terrorists last October. They came in batches of six each, but two were killed as they ran into an Army patrol.

The remaining 10 hardcore LeT men, according to Fahadullah, were sent to south Kashmir as instructed by Qasim, the divisional commander in that area. Hyderpora also falls under Qasim's zone of operation, making him the prime suspect for Monday's attack. Qasim was also behind the Silver Star Hotel attack in Srinagar last October.

Based on Fahadullah's interrogation, security agencies have concluded the Amarnath Yatra will be specifically targeted this year and these 10 terrorists had been sent to south Kashmir for this purpose. Alerts were issued accordingly as it emerged that many more attacks could be planned ahead of the Yatra.

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