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Swoop on pilgrim hit suspect

Katra, Aug. 17: A widespread anti-terror hunt in Jammu and Kashmir ended last evening with the arrest of Mohammad Yusuf alias Mithu, who is said to have thrown grenades at Vaishno Devi pilgrims last month.

Seven devotees were killed and more than 40 wounded in the July 21 attack.

Udhampur district police chief Vijay Singh Sambyal said Yusuf had chosen at the last minute to target Banganga rather than the bus stand here. “There was a lot of security at the bus stand and I was afraid that I would get caught,” he told police during interrogation.

Yusuf was caught during an encounter between militants and the police in Basantgarh. “While trying to escape, he hurled a grenade at the police party. But the police caught him and during interrogation, he started singing,” Sambyal said.

The Vaishno Devi attack is the first such case to be cracked in recent months. The police now hope to gather more information from Yusuf on militants’ plans in the area.

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