The investigation into Monday's attack on a bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims is still in an early stage. But the Jammu and Kashmir police say they have intercepts that prove the Lashkar's role. According to information put together by the security establishment, Abu Ismail led the attack along with three to five other terrorists, some of them locals.
At the attack site, a heavily protected area just 200 metres from an army installation, more than 100 empty cartridges were found, which, sources said, indicates that the terrorists were well prepared for the attack. Investigators said the terrorists came on two motorcycles and chased the bus at two points before escaping.
It is not clear what kind of a role, if any, was played by Abu Dujana, who is seen to be the big boss of the Lashkar-e-Taiba in the Kashmir valley. Sources said the terrorist group operates through a "disaggregated structure" in Jammu and Kashmir, implying that local operatives may carry out attacks independently in their area of operation.
The Jammu and Kashmir police have said they suspect the Amarnath attack, one of the worst in Kashmir in recent times, was a revenge attack after the police announced the arrest of Lashkar operative Sandeep Kumar Sharma in south Kashmir's Anantnag.
Sharma was arrested on Monday when he emerged from the house where terrorists had been hiding after the July 1 encounter in Anantnag which killed Bashir Lashkari.
There is no clarity how the bus carrying pilgrims was allowed to pass security check-posts on Monday after sunset when thousands of policemen head back to their camps for the night. Intelligence agencies had warned that terror groups such as the Lashkar could try and attack the annual pilgrimage made by thousands every year.
"We have to enquire why... it was allowed after sunset," Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh told NDTV, stating that the attack was a "big lapse". Officials said it was apparently delayed by a flat tyre.