In a big victory for security forces, in the wake of the ongoing militant threat in the Kashmir valley, Zakir Musa’s successor and the commander of the al-Qaeda linked Ansar Ghazwat-ul Hind (AGH), Abdul Hameed Lelhari was gunned down in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Awantipora on Thursday.
While the AGH had been trying to gain traction in Kashmir, the outfit had suffered a blow since its commander – Zakir Musa – had been gunned down by security forces earlier this year, in May. While Lelhari had taken over as the commander after Musa, security forces said that he had not been able to generate any support for the outfit.
Along with Lelhari, security forces gunned down two other terrorists. The Jammu and Kashmir police said that the killed terrorists were identified as Naveed Tak, Hamid Lone alias Hamid Lelhari and Junaid Bhat.
Speaking to the media in Srinagar, J&K police director general of police Dilbagh Singh said, “We have taken a security review of Shopian and other places where terror attacks have taken place. We have not shied from taking action against terrorists. We killed three militants in Tral and three in another location...all three terrorists killed are locals. Zakir Musa's successor Hamid Lelhari was also killed. They were working in coordination with Jaish-e-Mohammad."
Singh added that Lelhari had been actively participating in terror related activities since 2016, adding that the situation among terrorist cadres was better than before.
“There was a fear that post 5 August that there would be a rise in terror recruitment in the Valley. But I am happy to report that the level of recruitment has been very low."