In a significant win for the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, the successor of Zakir Musa, Hamid Lelhari was killed in an encounter in Avantipora on Tuesday.
'Three terrorists killed in Awantipora encounter yesterday have been identified as Naveed Tak, Hamid Lone aka Hamid Lelhari and Junaid Bhat. Arms and ammunition recovered,"'Kashmir Zone Police told news agencies.
A case has been registered and an investigation is underway, police officials told said.The terrorists were killed in an encounter in the outskirts of Awantipora and a cordon and search operation was launched by the forces following inputs about the possible presence of terrorists in the area.
'In Tral, 3 local militants associated Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind were killed yesterday. Before that, in an operation in Anantnag, 3 militants were neutralized... 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,the state DGP, Mr. Dilbag Singh, said in Srinagar.
With the killing of Lelhari, also the chief of Al Qaeda's Kashmir unit, Zakir Musa's Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind has reportedly lost the last militant leader of the outfit. Musa, a former Hizbul Mujahideen commander was killed in Tral area of Jammu and Kashmir in May. Subsequently, Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind had declared Lelhari as its new commander.
The elimination of a key militant comes at a time when the state is reeling under heavy clampdown in light of the abrogation of Article 370.