In a big win for security forces, Zakir Musa’s successor and chief of Kashmir’s al-Qaeda unit, Hamid Lelhari, was gunned down last evening.
Al-Qaeda affiliated Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH) had named Hameed Lelhari as its new commander after Zakir Musa’s death in May, 2019.
Hamid Lelhari and two of his local associates were killed in an encounter in Awantipora on Tuesday evening. The encounter began in the outskirts of Awantipore as the security forces launched a cordon and search operation following inputs about the presence of terrorists.
According to the Kashmir Zone Police, arms and ammunition were recovered from the site.
Hamid Lelhari was announced AGH chief two weeks after Zakir Musa was gunned down by security forces. Hameed Lelhari, 30, was a native of Pulwama.
WHO WAS ZAKIR MUSA ::
Zakir Musa was al-Qaeda’s head in Kashmir since July 27, 2017. He was earlier heading Hizbul Mujahideen, after the killing of Burhan Wani in 2016.
Musa was declared a proclaimed offender by a special court of the National Investigation Agency in Punjab’s Mohali earlier this month in connection with serial blasts in Jalandhar in September last year.
Security forces, however, killed AGH chief Zakir Musa in an encounter in a village in South Kashmir’s Tral on May 23.
Police had termed Zakir Musa’s killing as a major success for security forces as he was wanted in a series of terror crimes over the past six years.
JAISH TERRORISTS BEHIND MURDER OF 2 GUJJAR MEN KILLED ::
In a separate encounter, three other terrorists were killed South Kashmir’s Pulwama region.
According to DGP Dilbagh Singh, the terrorists belonged to Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed. Two of them are suspected to be Pakistani terrorists involved in the killing of two Gujjar brothers on August 29 in Tral. The killing of two Gujjar brothers was one of the first casualties after Centre’s decision to revoke Article 370.
The third terrorist has been identified as a local militant.