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Massive manhunt on for LeT's Abu Ismail, alleged mastermind of Amarnath yatra attack

Security agencies launched a massive manhunt to hunt down the alleged mastermind of the Amarnath yatra attack, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Abu Ismail. Ismail, a Pakistani national, is considered the successor of Abu Dujana, the slain commander of the LeT in the Valley.

"We have identified Ismail and two other men who were with him during the attack. We have also identified the people who drove them to their spot and who brought them their weapons. We know the direction in which the terrorists are hidden and we?ll hunt them down soon," a senior police Jammu and Kashmir police official told News18.

Security forces claimed that for the first time in the history of Kashmiri militancy, two terror outfits ? LeT and Hizbul Mujaheedin ? had come together to carry out an operation. They said this was significant because the Hizbul usually refrains from attacking pilgrims.

According to an India Today report, the LeT had activated its over-ground workers (OGWs) to recce the area and find suitable targets.

"The OGWs had been tailing this group from Gujarat comprising mostly women for the last two days and tipped off the terrorists to attack the group when there was no security around," top government sources was quoted by the Mail Today as saying.

According to a report in The Times of India, after a meeting between the intelligence agencies, Central Reserve Police Force and the Jammu and Kashmir Police on 25 June, the Centre was warned of a possible terror strike during the yatra.

"Intelligence input received from Anantnag SSP reveals that terrorists have been directed to eliminate 100 to 150 yatris and about 100 police officers. The attack may be in the form of standoff fire on a yatra convoy which they believe will result in flaring of communal tension throughout the nation," the alert said.

To recall, seven Amarnath pilgrims were killed late on Monday, while twelve including three policemen were injured, after militants attacked a bus full of yatris and a police party in Anantnag along the Jammu-Srinagar Highway in south Kashmir.

Five of those killed were from Gujarat and two from Maharashtra. The deceased from Gujarat were identified as Hasuben Ratila Patal, Surakha Ben and Lakshimiben S Patal from Valsad, Ratan Zeena Bhai Patal of Daman and Prajapati Champaben of Navsari. Those from Maharashtra were Nirmala Ben Thakor, a resident of Palghar, and Usha Mohanla Sonkar of Danu.