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Two Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives held in Punjab, arms seized

Two Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives held in Punjab, arms seized

With the arrest of two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives by the Pathankot police on the Amritsar-Jammu highway Thursday, the Punjab Police has foiled a major attempt to smuggle weapons into the Kashmir Valley for carrying out terror attacks.

Aamir Hussain Wani, 26, and Wasim Hassan Wani, 27, were nabbed as some alert policemen intercepted a truck on the highway.

As many as 10 hand grenades, an AK-47 rifle with two magazines and 60 live cartridges, were seized from the suspected militants who have been actively involved in transporting automatic weapons and hand grenades from Punjab to Kashmir.

Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said the accused, during preliminary investigation, have revealed that they had been directed to collect this weapons consignment from Punjab by Ishfaq Ahmed Dar, alias Bashir Ahmed Khan, a former constable.

Currently an active militant of LeT in the valley, Dar had absconded in 2017.

The duo further said they had collected the consignment from two unknown persons early this morning at a pre-arranged location on the Maqboolpura-Vallah road near the vegetable market in Amritsar.

They had then concealed the consignment in the truck, which they had brought ostensibly for the purpose of loading vegetables and fruits from the market in Amritsar, said the DGP.

Aamir Hussain Wani has revealed that, on his earlier trips to Punjab in his truck, he had collected more than Rs 20 lakh of hawala money at the behest of his handlers -Ishfaq Ahmed Dar and Rameez Raja.

He also said during previous trips to Amritsar, he had ferried two armed militants – one each of the Hizbul Mujahideen and LeT – from Punjab to the Valley.

Incidentally, both are now dead. They were identified by Aamir as Hizbul Mujahideen's Saddam Ahmed Paddar and Jasim Ahmed Shah of LeT.

Gupta said that the arrests had corroborated recent intelligence inputs indicating that the Pakistan ISI has been pushing weapon consignments and infiltrating militants from across the border into Punjab and further to the Kashmir Valley for carrying out terror activities.

On April 25 Punjab Police had arrested another Jammu and Kashmir based youth, Hilal Ahmed Wagay, who had come to collect drug money from Amritsar on the instructions of now slain Hizbul Mujahadeen Commander Riaz Ahmed Naikoo.

In that case also, Wagay had used a truck for ferrying the drug money.

<em>(With agency inputs)</em>.