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3 Terrorists From Zakir Musa's Group Gunned Down in Kashmir's Pulwama

Picture for Representation. (Getty Images)

Picture for Representation. (Getty Images)

These terrorists were earlier believed to have been working for Hizbul Mujahideen, but had recently switched over to Zakir Musa's group. This highlights a trend – of terrorists abandoning their outfits for Al Qaeda – that was noticed when Abu Dujana and Arif Lelhari were killed last week.

New Delhi: ​​Three terrorists have been killed in South Kashmir's Pulwama district in an ongoing encounter. According to sources, all three belong to the Zakir Musa-led Al Qaeda group - Ansar Ghazwatul Hind.

According to sources, the encounter broke out in Gulab Bagh area of Tral, between terrorists and joint troops of 180 battalion of CRPF, Army's 42 Rashtriya Rifles, and police's Special Operations Group at 1:15 pm.

The killed terrorists are Ishaq Ahmad Bhat from Batagund Tral, Zahid Ahmad Bhat from Nowdal Tral and Mohammad Ashraf Dar from Shopian. Dar had reportedly picked up the gun recently.

The three terrorists were recently seen in photographs of Zakir Musa with his group, which were released recently.

Security forces, however, claim that the terrorists belong to Hizbul Mujahideen. The encounter is still on with two other militants.

The encounter has also thrown up an interesting detail — terrorists from other terror outfits are abandoning their organisations to join Zakir Musa. Abu Dujana and Arif Lelhari, two Lashkar-e-Taiba commanders who were killed last week in an encounter, were also found to be working for Zakir Musa group.

The three terrorists killed on Wednesday were also, till recently, believed to be working for Syed Salahuddin led Hizbul Mujahideen.

The current trend shows a clear disaffection among cadres of existing terror outfits, and Zakir Musa's appeal among them.

Security forces have killed nearly 120 terrorists already this year, including three out of 12 most wanted terrorists of Kashmir - Abu Dujana, Bashir Lashkari and Junaid Mattoo.