Abdul Hamid Lelhari, Al-Qaeda Kashmir unit chief and Zakir Musa's successor, was killed in an encounter with security forces on Tuesday, according to reports. Three terrorists were killed in the Awantipora encounter on Tuesday and they have been identified as Hamid Lelhari aka Hamid Lone, Naveed Tak and Junaid Bhat, according to police. Al-Qaida affiliate Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind had named Abdul Hameed Lelhari as its new commander after Zakir Musa was gunned down by security forces.
Jammu and Kashmir DGP Dilbag Singh on Wednesday said that security forces on Tuesday evening neutralised three terrorists in Tral while three were killed in Anantnag. Singh confirmed the identities of the three terrorists neutralised by security forces in Awantipora near Tral.
Dilbag Singh said that the Ansar Ghazwat-ul Hind group (AGH) - Zakir Musa's group - has been wiped out.
"In Tral, 3 local militants associated Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind were killed yesterday. Before that, in an operation in Anantnag, 3 militants were neutralised," he said.
"We will be successful in our efforts to curb terrorism only when the local youth of Kashmir do not take the path of militancy and choose the path of peace," he further said.
The DGP further said that the Pakistan army and ISI are involved in pushing the maximum number of militants towards the Indian side.
In June 2019, around two weeks after Zakir Musa was gunned down by security forces, al-Qaida affiliate Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH) had named Hamid Lelhari as its local commander. Lelhari was a native of Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama.
In July 2019, Lelhari had released a nearly six-minute-long video laying down principles for a proposed militant "shura". He had called for cooperation among various militant outfits operating in the state and a new representative militant council to take consensus decisions regarding military actions against India.
On Tuesday evening, a joint team of J&K Police, Army and paramilitary forces launched an anti-militancy operation in Awantipora after inputs were received about the presence of militants at Rajpora village. As the joint team was zeroing in on the target house, the hiding militants opened fire. The joint team retaliated, triggering a gunfight in which all the three hiding in the village were killed.