New Delhi: Hamid Lelhari, the Kashmir al-Qaida chief, has been gunned down in the hour-long operation of the security forces in Awantipora yesterday. A native of Pulwama, Hamid was named the leader of al-Qaida’s Kashmir unit, also known as Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, after the death of Zakir Musa early this year.

The other two killed in yesterday’s operation were two of Hamid’s local aides. According to police, arms and ammunition were recovered from the site.

 

Zakir Musa was a former Hizbul Mujahideen commander and also the founder of the Indian wing of al-Qaida. Musa split with Mujahideen over Kashmir issue. After Burhan Wani’s death, he became the chief if Mujahideen. When he was killed, he was India’s most-wanted militant. In 2016, he had released a video threatening to chop off the heads of Hurriyat leaders and advocated establishing the Islamic law in Kashmir. According to reports, he had recruited nearly two dozen youth.

After his death, AGH released a 12-minute video announcing Abdul Hameed Lelhari, as the local commander.

The security operation started early on Tuesday morning. The identities of the slain terrorists have been confirmed on Wednesday. The militants were allegedly responsible for the killing of two brothers of the Gujjar community in Kashmir in August this year.