Netizen 24 IND: Militant faultlines deepen as Amarnath attack suspect Abu Ismail killed

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Militant faultlines deepen as Amarnath attack suspect Abu Ismail killed

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Militant faultlines deepen as Amarnath attack suspect Abu Ismail killed

'Abu Ismail' had taken charge of the south Kashmir Lashkar after deposing his predecessor ‘Abu Dujana’ who, in turn, was killed last month soon after he joined former Hizb-ul-Mujahideen operative Zakir Rashid Bhat’s newly-formed al-Qaeda affiliate, the Ansar Ghazwa’tul Hind.

Amarnath temple, Lashkar-e-Taiba, amarnath attack, amarnath yatra, abu ismail, lashkar commander, abu ismail terrorist, abu ismail killed, lashkar terrorist killed,    amarnath yatra, amarnath yatra attack, nowgam encounter, indian armyAmarnath temple, Lashkar-e-Taiba, amarnath attack, amarnath yatra, abu ismail, lashkar commander, abu ismail terrorist, abu ismail killed, lashkar terrorist killed, amarnath yatra, amarnath yatra attack, nowgam encounter, indian army ‘Abu Ismail’ had taken charge of the south Kashmir Lashkar after deposing his predecessor ‘Abu Dujana’ who, in turn, was killed last month soon after he joined former Hizb-ul-Mujahideen operative Zakir Rashid Bhat’s newly-formed al-Qaeda affiliate, the Ansar Ghazwa’tul Hind. (Representative image) Related News
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Lashkar-e-Taiba’s top commander ‘Abu Ismail’, believed to have been responsible for this summer’s massacre of A marnath pilgrims, was killed Thursday by security forces on the outskirts of Srinagar, widening factional faultlines among jihadists in south Kashmir who have been blaming each other for the elimination of a succession of top commanders in police-led operations â€" 58 terrorists have been killed in south Kashmir alone this year. In a statement released online Wednesday, a day before the killing of ‘Abu Ismail’, the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen charged al-Qaeda’s commander in the region of having “taken a great sum of money from the Indian government for engineering the martyrdom of important mujahideen”.

‘Abu Ismail’ had taken charge of the south Kashmir Lashkar after deposing his predecessor ‘Abu Dujana’ who, in turn, was killed last month soon after he joined former Hizb-ul-Mujahideen operative Zakir Rashid Bhat’s newly-formed al-Qaeda affiliate, the Ansar Ghazwa’tul Hind.

“Never in the past have so many mujahideen been martyred in so short a time”, t he Hizb statement says, in response to the losses of its own cadre. “The man responsible for this is none other than Zakir Musa (Zakir Bhat’s pseudonym). This traitor is trying to weaken the freedom movement. He has confused the public by calling himself a mujahid, whereas he is in fact an agent of India.”

Read | Abu Ismail, Amarnath Yatra mastermind, killed in encounter

Earlier, in an Eid-ul-Azha message released on August 1, Zakir Bhat had lashed out at the Pakistan Army, alleging that it had “betrayed the Kashmir jihad by declaring the mujahideen to be terrorists, shutting down training camps, imprisoning mujahideen fighting for the Kashmir cause”.

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“We have no enmity with Pakistan’s 200 million Muslims,” Zakir Bhat went on, “but we oppose those slaves of America, the Pakistan Army, who have oppressed Muslims, and betrayed the Kashmir jihad to please the Hindus and the Americans.”

Loud condemnation of the Ansar Ghazwa’tul Hind by the established jihadist groups had greeted its formation this summer, but the new polemics and allegations of treachery mark a sharp and potentially lethal escalation in the conflict.

Amarnath temple, Lashkar-e-Taiba, amarnath attack, amarn   ath yatra, abu ismail, lashkar commander, abu ismail terrorist, abu ismail killed, lashkar terrorist killed, amarnath yatra, amarnath yatra attack, nowgam encounter, indian armyAmarnath temple, Lashkar-e-Taiba, amarnath attack, amarnath yatra, abu ismail, lashkar commander, abu ismail terrorist, abu ismail killed, lashkar terrorist killed, amarnath yatra, amarnath yatra attack, nowgam encounter, indian army Abu Ismail killed: Security personnel stand guard after a brief encounter with militants at Aribagh Nowgam on the outskirts of Srinagar on Thursday. Two top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants Abu Ismail and Abu Qasim were killed in the gun battle. (PTI Photo)

In his statement criticising the group’s formation in May, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Muhammad Yusuf Shah refrained from naming al-Qaeda and Zakir Bhatt, saying only that “some forces are creating confusion among the masses in the name of Isla mic law and martyrdom”. The Lashkar-e-Taiba blamed National Security Advisor Ajit Doval for attempting to undermine the Kashmir jihad by bringing “terror groups such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State into the Valley”.

However, supporters of al-Qaeda hit back, pointing out that the Hizb’s Shah had publicly called on Osama bin Laden to aid the Kashmir struggle, while Lashkar chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed had led the slain al-Qaeda terrorists’ funeral prayers in Lahore.

Intelligence sources have told The Indian Express the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen has become increasingly concerned that Zakir Bhatt could become the nucleus for a new generation of Kashmiri Islamists inspired by global jihadist ideology, often drawn from the Internet.

Also read | Who is Abu Ismail?

Earlier this year, Zakir Bhat broke with the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, after publicly threatening All Parties Hurriyat Conference that he would “chop off their heads and display them at Lal Chowk” in Srinagar, unless they acknowledged that the Kashmir struggle was for creating an Islamic order.

There has also been a growing distance between young jihadists fighting in Kashmir and the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen’s ageing leadership. The military commanders who built the organisation â€" Abdul Majid Dar, Ghulam Rasool Dar, Ali Muhammad â€" have long been dead, while Ghulam Nabi Khan, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Muhammad Yusuf Shah’s ageing deputy, has refused to serve in Kashmir, which he last saw over fifteen years ago.

Field commanders have also struggled to assert authority because the Pakistan-based leadership of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen has been unable to provide weapons and ammunition to new cadre who joined the organisation during the anti-India mobilisation of 2015.

Yasin Yatoo, the Hizb’s new military chief in Kashmir, is believed to command 200 fighting men â€" most semi-educated young men from peasant families whose training amounts to having f ired a few rounds in the orchards near their villages. The strain has led dozens of cadre to abandon the group, and return home.

Inside the leadership itself, factions abound. Qayyum Najjar, the seniormost Hizb military commander broke with the Hizb leadership in 2010, formed the rival Lashkar-e-Islam, and set about slaughtering its supporters. Najjar later reconciled with the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen’s leadership, but its inability to punish him illustrated the weakness of the central leadership.

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