Hamid Lelhari – Zakir Musa’s successor and chief of Kashmir’s al-Qaeda unit was gunned down by the Indian Army. Al-Qaeda affiliated Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH) had named Hameed Lelhari as its new commander after Zakir Musa’s death in May 2019.
Hamid Lelhari and two of his local associates were killed in an encounter in Awantipora on Tuesday evening. The encounter began in the outskirts of Awantipore as the security forces launched a cordon and search operation following inputs about the presence of terrorists.
According to the Kashmir Zone Police, arms and ammunition were recovered from the site. Hamid Lelhari was announced AGH chief two weeks after Zakir Musa was gunned down by security forces. Hameed Lelhari, 30, was a native of Pulwama.
Who Was Hameed Lelhari?
After the Indian Army neutralized top Kashmiri militant Zakir Musa, Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH) had announced Hameed Lelhari as Zakir Musa’s successor and the outfit’s new head.
According to the report, in a video released by al-Hurr (AGH’s official media wing), Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind’s spokesperson Abu Ubaidah Hafizahullah said that Hameed Lelhari alias Haroon Abbas has replaced Musa while Ghazi Ibrahim Khalid was appointed as his deputy.
Hameed Lelhari is a resident of Pulwama and a member of Islamist organisation Jamait-Ahl-e-Hadith. “Hameed Lelhari has taken over Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind but he is hardly a top terrorist,” an officer was quoted in the report as saying.
However, the police in Kashmir had no idea about his deputy Ghazi Ibrahim Khalid’s identity and background. The security forces had killed Zakir Musa, who headed the AGH, on 23 May. Hameed Lelhari served as Musa’s deputy after he and around a dozen terrorists split from Hizbul Mujahideen and swore allegiance to al-Qaeda in July 2017.