PoK: A terrorist wanted in India was shot dead inside a mosque in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on Friday, officials said.
The terrorist, identified as Riyaz Ahmad alias Abu Qasim, was killed by unidentified assailants in the fourth such killing of a top terrorist commander operating from across the border this year.
Qasim who was affiliated with the proscribed Lashkar-e-Taiba was one of the prime conspirators behind the Dhangri terror attack on January 1 killing seven people and injuring 13 others. The terrorists had struck the Dhangri village of Rajouri district and opened fire indiscriminately.
They had also planted an improvised explosive device (IED) that went off the next morning.
According to the officials, Qasim hails from the Jammu region, and crossed the border to Pakistan in 1999.
He was considered the mastermind behind the revival of terrorism in the border districts of Poonch and Rajouri, the officials said.
Citing reports from the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), the officials said that Qasim was shot dead by unidentified gunmen inside the Al-Qudus mosque in the Rawalakot area during pre-dawn prayers.
“Ahmad mostly operated from the Lashkar-e-Taiba base camp in Muridke but had recently shifted to Rawalakot. He was a close associate of Sajjad Jaat, the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s chief commander, and also looked after the outfit’s finances,” they said.
Fourth such killing this year
With the killing of Qasim, he became the fourth commander of various terror organisation operating from Pakistan to be gunned down this year.
In March, a top commander of the banned Hizbul Mujahideen was shot dead by unidentified assailants in Pakistan’s Rawalpindi.
Bashir Ahmad Peer alias Imtiyaz Alam who hailed from the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir had been living in Pakistan for over 15 years.
He was accused of getting Zakir Musa, chief commander of the Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind – an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Kashmir – killed in May 2019.
In February, former Al-Badr Mujahideen commander Syed Khalid Raza was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the port city of Karachi, which was described as a targeted attack by the police.
Aijaz Ahmad Ahangar, a Kashmiri terrorist functioning as a top commander of the global terror group Islamic State, was found dead – reportedly killed by the Taliban – in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province earlier this year.
(With PTI inputs)