IS claims Zakura attack

SRINAGAR: In a new twist, Islamic State-backed news agency Amaq has claimed responsibility for the Zakura attack in Srinagar that left a sub-inspector dead and a cop injured on November 17.

editorial@tribune.com

Samaan Lateef

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, November 19

In a new twist, Islamic State-backed news agency Amaq has claimed responsibility for the Zakura attack in Srinagar that left a sub-inspector dead and a cop injured on November 17.

SITE Intel Group, an online terror tracker site, tweeted on Saturday, “Amaq reports first IS attack in the Kashmir valley with the killing of a police officer in Srinagar.”

In the incident, one of the attackers, Mugees Ahmad Mir, was shot dead in a brief gunfight with the police.

Mugees of the Parimpora locality in Srinagar picked up arms in April 2016. Mugees was working as an overground worker with Hizbul Mujahideen and had killed a cop in a grenade attack in Anantnag.

Before this he was avidly following “Dabiq” — an online ISIS magazine tailored for foreign recruits — and other jihad literature, a police officer said.

“Through a consistent and properly channelised effort, global jihad material was made available in Kashmir after 2014. Mugees was the first proponent of global jihad in Kashmir as its material started circulating through WhatsApp and other online forums to entice our youth,” said the police officer, who has been investigating the links of Kashmiri militants with the global jihadi militant outfits.

At the time of his death, Mugees was wearing a black T-shirt having an Islamic State flag on it. In fact, black flags, similar to the ones of the IS, were displayed during Mugees’ funeral on November 18. On his wish, Mugees’ body was also wrapped in a similar black flag before being taken for burial.

The IS claim of the attack has come at a time when an offshoot of Al-Qaida in Kashmir, Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind led by Zakir Musa is showing open defiance to Pakistan’s writ in Kashmir.

However, Pakistan-based Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TeM)claimed Mugees belonged to it and was “a district commander.” “After killing of Mugees, the Indian forces draped his body in ISIS flag to defame the ongoing movement in Kashmir. The motive of relating Kashmir movement with ISIS or Taliban is only to turn Kashmir into Afghanistan,” TeM spokesperson Abdul Haq said.

DGP SP Vaid said Mugees’ links with the IS were a subject matter of investigation. “No, it is yet to be verified and I don’t think IS has any imprints here,” Vaid said.

Police sources said the number of the militants having ISlinksmight be less here but their influence was growing in Kashmir.

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