IS claims it has established province in India; calls it ‘Wilayah of Hind’

IS claims it has established province in India; calls it ‘Wilayah of Hind’
Flag of the Islamic State.
NEW DELHI, MAY 11 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 5/11/2019 11:50:16 AM IST

After the Army said it had “eliminated” Ishfaq Sofi of ISJK (Islamic State Jammu and Kashmir), Islamic State (IS) claimed for the first time that it has established a “province” in India, which was rubbished by the Indian security apparatus.

IS’s Amaq News Agency late on Friday announced the new province, that it called “Wilayah of Hind”, in a statement that also claimed IS inflicted casualties on Indian army soldiers in the town of Amshipora in the Shopian district of Kashmir.

Sofi alias Abdullah Bhai, a local terrorist and close aide of one of the most wanted terrorists Zakir Musa, was killed by security forces in a gun battle in Amshipora village of Shopian district of Kashmir on Friday.

Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi  had been involved in several militant groups in Kashmir for more than a decade before pledging allegiance to Islamic State, according to a military official on Saturday and an interview given by Sofi to a Srinagar-based magazine sympathetic to IS.

“Targeting terrorist leadership towards #TerrorismFreeKashmir. Sustained efforts successful. Eliminated Ishfaq Sofi of ISJK involved in scores of terrorism related activities,” the Srinagar-based Army Corps tweeted on Friday.

Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police Dilbagh Singh said the slain terrorist belonged to an “IS-inspired group”.

Soon after, IS’ Amaq News Agency said it had established “Wilayah of hind” (an IS province in India), according to media reports. Top officials of J&K Police and Central intelligence agencies on Saturday categorically rubbished the IS claim.

A top intelligence official said the slain militant could have been influenced by the ideology of IS, but he “definitely” did not belong to the group nor has the outfit any footprint in Kashmir.

Intelligence agencies have also said that there was no proof or credible evidence about the presence of IS cadre in Kashmir.

“The establishment of a ‘province’ in a region where it has nothing resembling actual governance is absurd, but it should not be written off,” said Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intel Group that tracks Islamic extremists.

“The world may roll its eyes at these developments, but to jihadists in these vulnerable regions, these are significant gestures to help lay the groundwork in rebuilding the map of the IS ‘caliphate’.”

IS has stepped up hit-and-run raids and suicide attacks, including taking responsibility for the Easter Sunday bombing in Sri Lanka that killed at least 253 people.

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