J&K: Six militants of Al Qaeda-affiliate AGH killed

As the forces were conducting searches, militants fired upon them, triggering the encounter. (DH File Photo)

Six militants of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH), an al-Qaeda affiliate in the Valley, led by Zakir Musa, were killed in a brief gunfight with security forces in volatile Tral area of south Kashmir's Pulwama district on Saturday.
 
Police said one of the slain militants, Soliha Mohammad Akhoon, was the deputy chief of the outfit and a close aide of Musa. The gunfight broke out in Arampora hamlet of Dadsara, Tral, 32 kms from here, after Army's 42 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), paramilitary CRPF and J&K police launched a cordon-and-search-operation (CASO) in the area shortly after midnight, following the “specific information” about the presence of militants.
 
“As the searches were going on, the militants fired upon the security forces which was retaliated leading to a brief gunfight in which six ultras were killed,” a police spokesperson said and added the militant hideout was situated in an orchard along the Tral-Awantipora road. 
 
The bodies of the slain militants along with as many weapons and ammunition were recovered from the gunfight site, he said and identified them as Rasik Mir, Rouf Ahmed, Umer Ramzan, Nadeem Sofi and Faisal Javid Khanday, all locals.
 
In July 2017, the Global Islamic Media Front claimed that Zakir Musa had been named the head of the AGH, (the Islamic name of the local al-Qaeda group). Musa, an engineering college dropout, had stirred up a hornet’s nest in May last year when he threatened to chop off heads of those separatist leaders who claim the Kashmir struggle as political and not Islamic. 
 
Consequently, Hizbul commanders based in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir termed his statement as “unacceptable” and his “personal opinion.” Following the snub, Musa disassociated from the militant outfit and formed AGH in Kashmir.
 
Earlier this year, the AHW announced that one of the militants killed in Hakoora village of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district was its cadre from Hyderabad which was later confirmed by the police. Since 2017, more than a dozen active militants, including former Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Abu Dujana, have joined its ranks. Dujana was killed in an encounter with security forces last year along with another Kashmiri militant, who had also joined Musa led AHW. 
 
Though, in 2014 Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri had warned of operations in Kashmir, through a video, it had no impact on the security situation as the terror outfit had no modules in the Valley then.

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J&K: Six militants of Al Qaeda-affiliate AGH killed

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