New Delhi: Abdul Hameed Lelhari, the commander of al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH) and Zakir Musa’s successor, was gunned down by security forces on Wednesday in south Kashmir’s Awantipora. The incident comes in the wake of the militant threat in Kashmir.
The AGH had been trying to gain traction in the Valley, but the outfit suffered a blow in May when Musa was killed. Lelhari, aka Hamid Lone, had taken over as the commander of AGH after Musa. However, security forces said he had not been able to generate any support for the outfit.
Along with Lelhari, security forces also killed two other terrorists, identified as Naveed Tak and Junaid Bhat, according Jammu and Kashmir Police.
“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 were locals. Zakir Musa’s successor Hamid Lelhari was also killed. They were working in coordination with Jaish-e-Mohammed," Jammu and Kashmir director general of police Dilbagh Singh said in Srinagar.
Singh said Lelhari had been actively participating in terror activities since 2016, but the number of new terror recruits was not alarming. “There was fear that after 5 August there will be a rise in terror recruitment in the Valley. I am happy to report that the level of recruitment has been very low."