December 2001 News

Al-Qaeda man arrested in Kashmir

27 December 2001
The Hindustan Times

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Thursday claimed to have come across the first Al-Qaeda link in the Kashmir Valley with the arrest of a terrorist in Srinagar. IGP (Kashmir range) K. Rajendra said that Ghulam Qadir Najjar was closely associated with the Harkat-ul- Mujahideen and Al-Qaeda terror outfits. He said that an Al-Qaeda operative, Qamar Ayub, who was arrested in Jammu last week, had stayed at Najjar''s house for over a month. Terrorists of the Harkat had also been using Najjar''s house as a hideout. The police also recovered weapons from the house. Rajendra said that 20-25 Al-Qaida members were reported to have sneaked into the Valley and a close associate of Osama bin Laden, Molvi Abrar, is said to be their chief. ''We are verifying these reports,'' said Rajendra, adding that a massive campaign has been launched to bust the network. Rajendra said the police also arrested a functionary of the All Party Hurriyat Conference''s Delhi wing, the Kashmir Awareness Bureau, Ghulam Mohammad Bhat at Srinagar airport. Rajendra said that Bhat was the main conduit between Pakistan''s ISI and Kashmiri separatist leaders. Rajendra said that the earlier this month the police had nabbed a senior Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander, Abdul Rasheed Lone, alias Molvi Ashfaq. The police recovered Rs 40 lakh from him, and another Rs 50 lakh from a Hizb hideout. Another Rs 10 lakh was recovered from Jaish militants. Earlier, seven militants of different groups surrendered before the police. Three of them were activists of the Al Fateh Force, two belonged to the Hizb and one each of the Al Badr and the Islamic Front. Rajendra said that the militants were locals and had recently sneaked into the Valley from Pakistan. Lashkar men killed Three Lashkar militants, including a self-styled commander of the outfit and a member of the suicide squad that attacked the Jammu railway station, and three Armymen were killed in an encounter in Anantnag district of south Kashmir on Thursday. Meanwhile, an attempt was made on the life of Ashiq Bukhari, SP Budgam. The militants threw a grenade at his vehicle but missed the target. The blast injured 27 people.


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