The Pakistani terrorist arrested in a major breakthrough in the suicide strike that killed five Central Reserve Police Force men was a Lashkar-e-Tayiba recruit and it was he who allegedly dropped the two 'fidayeens' on the outskirts of the city on the day of the attack, investigations show.
In a swift operation a day after the attack, the Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir police arrested 22-year-old Zubair alias Abu Tallah alias Riaz from Chattabal area in the outskirts of the city late on Thursday night when he was talking to his handlers, official sources said on Friday.
Zubair, a resident of Multan in Pakistan, is the second person to be arrested in the attack on the CRPF camp near the Police Public School in Bemina on Wednesday after Bashir alias Haroon Bhai was held hours after the attack.
Sources said that Bashir, who hailed from Uri along the Line of Control in Baramulla district, had tipped the state police about Zubair's movements which led to his arrest.
The sources said that Zubair told the interrogators that he had dropped the two 'fidayeens' (suicide attackers) hailing from his country along with Bashir, a surrendered terrorist. According to the police, Zubair had crossed over from Uri in north Kashmir a month back and was followed by the two 'fidayeens' who hailed from Sahiwal and Dera Gazi Khan in Pakistan.
Zubair showed no signs of resistance when he was being overpowered by the SOG personnel on a rooftop in a densely populated area when he was talking to his handlers, they said. During his night-long interrogation, the arrested terrorist gave details about his recruitment by the LeT in Pakistan and also claimed he joined the outfit in view of the abject poverty he was living in.
Zubair has two sisters and an elder brother in Pakistan and the family is reported to be financially weak with the father working in farms, the sources said. He has undergone several training sessions with LeT including those given by known Lashkar commanders like Hanzullah and Furqaan, police claimed, and said he had attended the last training session six months back.
However, he has not been able to provide the actual identity of the two terrorists who carried out the suicide attack. The two terrorists, disguised as cricketers, stormed a CRPF camp here in the first major attack in the city in three years. They were killed by the security personnel.
Image: Security personnel in action during Wednesday's attack in Srinagar| Photograph: Umar Ganie