Key LeT commander killed by unidentified men in Pakistan

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NEW DELHI: Unidentified men gunned down Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Akram Ghazi in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, marking the second assassination of a terrorist who had India as his main target in the last one week.

Akram Khan alias Ghazi was one of top recruiters for Lashkar between 2018-2020 and was responsible for radicalising scores of terrorists who infiltrated into the Kashmir Valley in multiple batches in the last two years, sources said.

On Sunday, Khwaja Shahid, one of the masterminds of the 2018 Sunjwan terror attack in J&K, was abducted and, later, found beheaded near the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The role of local rivals, including those from different terror groups, and in-fighting in Lashkar’s own ranks are two of the preliminary lines of probe being pursued by Pakistani agencies working on Ghazi’s killing.

“Ghazi was a key member of Lashkar’s central recruitment cell and known for his hate-filled speeches against India,” said a source. He was shot dead by bike-borne men in Bajaur district, the source said, adding that Pakistani spy agency ISI has been trying to downplay the killing.

This is the second assassination of a top Lashkar operative in recent days. In September, LeT commander Riyaz Ahmed was killed outside Al Quddus Masjid in Rawalakot, PoK. He was handling Lashkar’s recruitment in PoK.

Ghazi’s killing is another major setback for LeT and ISI.

The killing is reminiscent of the death of wanted terrorist & chief of Khalistan Commando Force, Paramjit Singh Panjwar, who was shot dead by unidentified gunmen while out on a morning walk near his residence in Lahore in May. Other recent killings are that of LeT operatives Maulana Ziaur Rehman, who was shot dead in Karachi’s Gulistan-e-Jauhar locality, and Mufti Qaiser Farooq, who was shot in Gulshan-i-Umar seminary.

Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist Shahid Latif, the chief handler of the fidayeen squad that attacked the Pathankot airbase in 2016, was gunned down by unidentified assailants in a mosque in Sialkot, Pakistan, on October 10.

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