Srinagar: After the elimination of most of the Jaish leadership in Jammu and Kashmir by Indian security forces, Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) launch pads have been initiated in new locations across the Line of Control ahead of a possible effort to push terrorists into Kashmir, top counter-terror officials and senior Jammu and Kashmir police officials said.
The effort to increase the infiltration of terrorists corresponds with the melting of snows on high mountain passes. Post Pulwama, the Pakistan Army cleared terrorist launch pads apprehending a repeat of the 2016 Indian surgical strikes.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Jaish wants to boost its strength and capacities in the state.
Counter-terror and police officials said that Mohammad Umair, JeM chief Masood Azhar’s nephew, who was seen around Pulwama in February, had either been killed or returned to Pakistan.
After the Pulwama attack, Indian security forces have been able to eliminate the majority of the Jaish leadership in the valley, they added, with only one commander, who operates under the codename Munna Bihari currently active in the Shopian district.
In a recent audio clip, broadcast over the Jaish’s Rang-o-Noor channel, Azhar’s elder brother Ibrahim Athar hints that Mohammed Umair may have also been neutralized by the Indian security forces. In the audio clip, Athar is heard telling his cadre that Umair and Kamran have already reached “heaven.”
Many of these launch pads are suspected to be in the scenic Lolab Valley, north of Kupwara, and around 114 km north-west of Srinagar.