Top Surankote Fugitive Killed In Rawlakot Mosque


SRINAGAR: A Surankote militant, wanted in Poonch for killing civilians, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in a mosque in Rawlakot, on the other side of the Line of Control (LoC), reports appearing in media from the two sides of the divide said. He has been identified as Riyaz Ahmad, Muhammad Riaz, who operated under the code name abu Qasim.

Details appearing in Pakistani media said Riaz was offering Fajr prayer in al-Quds mosque on September 8, 2023, when an assailant pumped four bullets and killed him on the spot. “According to the FIR seen by Dawn, the victim was sitting in the second row when a man wearing trousers, a shirt and a helmet fired at him,” a report appearing The Dawn said. “The killer was reportedly accompanied by another man who waited in the mosque’s veranda, and the two fled after the attack.”

The report said that Riyaz had sated with mosque Imam Qari Amjad Hashmi for the night. “He was laid to rest in Chakswari town of Mirpur district, where he lived with his 10-member family in a rented accommodation.”

Jammu based newspaper; Daily Excelsior reported that Riyaz was involved in Dhangri terror attack on January 1, 2023 in which seven members of minority community were killed.

“Ahmad ex-filtrated across the border in 1999. He was considered as the brains behind the revival of terrorism in the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri,” the newspaper said. “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-Toiba’s chief commander, and also looked after the outfit’s finances, the officials said.”

“In the last two decades, Ahmed grew to become one of the key commanders managing the Kotli terror camps and launchpad for the terror outfit,” The Week reported. “Recently, he was believed to have been playing a crucial role in reviving terror activities in Rajouri and Poonch areas of Kashmir.”

The newspaper reports suggest Riyaz’s killing was the fourth such killing of top militants operating from across the border this year.

In March, Bashir Ahmad Peer alias Imtiyaz Alam, a top commander of the banned Hizbul Mujahideen was shot dead by unidentified assailants in Pakistan’s Rawalpindi. Living in Pakistan for 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.

Besides, Aijaz Ahmad Ahangar, a Kashmiri militant functioning as a top commander of the Islamic State outfit, was found dead in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province earlier this year. He was reportedly killed by ruling Taliban.


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