Two AGH militants killed in Kashmir's Shopian

Two AGH militants killed in Kashmir's Shopian

Two militants affiliated with Ansar Gazwatul Hind (AGH), an al-Qaeda affiliated group in Kashmir, were killed in a pre-dawn encounter with security forces in Awneera village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Tuesday.

Reports said the gunfight broke out after a joint team of Army’s 1 Rashtriya Rifles and special operations group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police launched a cordon-and-search-operation (CASO) in Awneera, Shopain, 55 km from here, following ‘specific inputs’ about the presence of militants in the area.

As the forces zeroed towards the suspected spot, hiding militants fired upon forces triggering an encounter in which two ultras were killed.

A police official confirmed that two militants were killed in the gunfight that broke out before dawn and said searches were underway in the area.

The slain ultras were identified as Sayar Ahmad Bhat and Shakir Ahmad Wagay, both from Shopian and affiliated with AGH.

Recently the AGH had named Hameed Lelhari as the successor of Zakir Musa, who was killed by security forces on May 23. In a video released on Eid by al-Hurr (official media wing of AGH), the al-Qaeda said Lelhari has replaced Musa as its local commander and Ghazi Ibrahim Khalid appointed as his deputy.

109 militants of various groups and 59 force personnel have been killed in militancy violence in the Valley this year. According to official figures, 101 militants were killed from January 1 till May 31, which is higher than the corresponding period of 2018 when 71 militants were killed.

During the first five months of this year, May witnessed 28 killings of militants followed by 22 in February, 21 in March, 17 in January and 12 in April.

“On an average, 20 militants have been killed in each month so far,” a police official said and added 25 among them were foreigners and 76 local militants.

The deceased militants were affiliated with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and AGH and Al-Badr.

At least 59 force personnel were also killed in the militancy violence in the Valley in from January to May. Of 59 killings of forces men, highest 44 belonged to paramilitary CRPF, nine Army men and six policemen.

However, despite the killing of over 100 militants, around 275 militants are still active in the valley. J&K Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh recently said about 275 militants were active in the Valley and of them, 100 to 115 were locals and remaining foreign militants.

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