‘Fidayeen squad’ of 13, headed by ex-Pakistan special ops officer, attempting to infiltrate J&K: Intelligence agencies

Two weeks ago, intelligence agencies informed Jammu and Kashmir police about a possible infiltration attempt by a “fidayeen squad” of 13 Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants, headed by a former commando in the Pakistan Army.

Indian security officials, including the Kashmir police, are continuing to monitor the situation.

The intelligence documents, which were accessed by HT last week, suggest that the 13 militants, based in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), are planning to hit a major army installation and an air force base in Punjab or Jammu and Kashmir.

The documents say that the threat comes from a JeM squad led by Haji Ali Asghar, a former junior commissioned officer of the Pakistan Army’s elite special operations unit, the Special Service Group.

The Indian intelligence document was an overview of the movement of militants in PoK and Kashmir.

It was circulated during a time of increasing violence. On Saturday, three JeM militants killed at least eight Indian security personnel at a heavily fortified police facility in Kashmir’s western Pulwama district. JeM also killed three Indian Army troops in Kupwara, a district in northern Kashmir, on April 27, and injured more than a dozen security personnel in seven attacks across Jammu and Kashmir on June 13.

According to a senior intelligence source, the 13 members of the squad are not the only JeM militants trying to infiltrate Kashmir. During a press conference on Sunday,Muneer Ahmad Khan, inspector general of Kashmir police, said that JeM is taking a lead role in carrying out strikes on Indian police officers and soldiers.

The same intelligence source and a senior security official both said that the attacks are a response by JeM to recent successes of Indian security personnel. In the last month alone, Indian forces have killed two top commanders of militant groups: Abu Dujana, formerly of Lashkar-e-Toiba, and Yasin Yatoo, formerly of Hizbul Mujahideen.

“As a result of many successful encounters in 2017, JeM has decided to increase their activities in the valley,” the senior security official said.

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