LeT launched a specially trained squad through Uri, says arrested militant

Raising serious security concerns in the State, the detained Pakistani commander of a fidayeen squad is believed to have revealed that reviving suicide strikes on the Police and security forces’ formations was Lashkar-e-Toiba’s initiative “to avenge Afzal Guru’s execution.”

Twenty-six-year-old Mohammad Zubair alias Talha Zaraar of Multan has, according to the Police sources associated with his interrogation, disclosed on Friday that his jihadist outfit had decided to take revenge of Guru’s “martyrdom” immediately after his hanging at Delhi’s Tihar Jail on February 9. “Within a week, LeT launched a specially trained and well indoctrinated fidayeen squad of five Pakistani militants through Uri,” the sources, quoting the detained militant, told The Hindu .

The March 13 attack on a CRPF camp at Bemina was the group’s first suicide operation---three years after the last of the series at a hotel in Lalchowk area on January 6, 2010.

The Pakistan-based jihadist groups started the 10-year-long spell of the fidayeen attacks in Jammu and Kashmir with a dare-devil operation on the sector headquarters of the Border Security Force (BSF) near Bandipora at the end of the Kargil War in July 1999.

On purported disclosures of the militant, who was picked up from his hideout here on Thursday night, the sources identified the two Pakistani fidayeens killed in the encounter at Bemina as Hyder of Sahewal and Saif of Dera Gazi Khan. They said that search was underway for two more foreigners besides a Baramulla-based Sikh employee of the State government who arranged for them logistic support and shelter for about a month.

Bashir Ahmad of Uri, who allegedly managed the infiltration from across the LoC as a guide, has also been taken into custody for questioning by the Special Operations Group (SOG) of Srinagar District Police. Senior Superintendent of Police Srinagar, Syed Ashiq Hussain Bukhari, confirmed the arrest of the group’s “commander” Talha Zaraar and the guide Bashir but declined to comment on their purported disclosures. “We have almost fully completed our investigation but would not reveal anything until we lay our hands on some more evidences.”

Informed sources said that some local militant operatives were believed to have helped the group in reconnaissance survey of the CRPF camp.

For a couple of days, the militants are said to have stayed at a hideout in Srinagar, not far away from their target.

However, they travelled to the city from Tangmarg on the eventful day, killing five CRPF personnel before their own death.

“There seems to be a greater coincidence between LeT’s revenge attack on March 13 and the Pakistan National Assembly’s resolution on March 14,” said a senior official.