As commanders fall, militants lose links to handlers

first_img Of late, technological inputs have died down as militants have stopped using cellphones frequently in south Kashmir. Human intelligence now remains the core of counter-insurgency grid, officials say.The Army and the police credit “well-knit overground human intelligence as the main source of a tip-off that led to the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Abdul Qayoom Najar, in an encounter along the LoC, north of Uri, on September 27. He was being infiltrated to take control of the Hizb. After trapping him in a cordon operation in a village in Shopian, the operation lasted 15 hours.The structure of command-control of LeT has district commanders and a small group at the lower level, followed by operational chief, overseeing all 11 districts in the Valley.“The job of the operational chief is to coordinate with handlers in Pakistan and identify potential targets and lay down logistical support requirements,” said the counter-insurgency official in Srinagar.Strong networkUnlike the LeT, the Hizb structure has a “strong network of overground workers, district-wise militants, district commanders, divisional commanders and operational commanders at the top”.  A day earlier, the same bunch of terrorists had tried to block, in the same area, an Army patrol on an operation. They attacked a couple of Garud Commandos from the Air Force, who had been embedded with the unit for operational experience, and they died later in hospital.Replacements comingThe more terrorist “commanders” are killed, the more easily their replacements seem to spring forward. A top counter-insurgency official, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Militant handlers in Pakistan are using the twin routes of Poonch in Jammu and the Kupwara-Baramulla forest areas in the Valley to infiltrate commanders every time the LeT loses its commander.The official told The Hindu that “the passes in the higher reaches of Hafruda and Shambhari forest ranges close to the Line of Control (LoC) have also opened up”. “Snow has completely melted there as summer peaked this year, making it easy to infiltrate and find hideouts in crevices and foliage,” he said.The terrorist outfits, especially the LeT, tend to fill the top positions from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir “to uphold morale down the ranks, as soon as its commander gets killed in an operation”. It is difficult to find local people.Operational leaders hitSince the Army’s “Operation All-Out” aimed at flushing Jammu and Kashmir of terrorists was launched in May, as south Kashmir slipped into the hands of 250 militants dominated by local commanders, operational commanders Abu Dujana and Abu Ismail have been killed. Dujana was a prized target. He had taken over the mantle after Abu Qasin was killed on October 29, 2016.Dujana was suspected of masterminding the suicide attack at the Entrepreneurship Development Institute in Pampore that led to a 56-hour standoff in February 2016.Dujana was cornered, along with Arif Lelhari, in a village in Pulwama before dawn. Hours later, an exchange of fire began.When he refused to surrender, the security forces blew up the house he was sheltering in. He had escaped a cordon-and-search operation five times before his luck ran out on August 1.He was placed on the A++ category with a reward of ₹15 lakh on his head.Mission All OutSince “Operation All Out” began, over 10 district commanders, including battle-hardened Arif Lelhari, Junaid Mattoo and Bashir Lashkari in south Kashmir, had been killed. Some 21 commanders, including Hizbul Mujahideen’s Sabzar Bhat, Shahbaz Shafi alias Rayees Kachroo and Commander Aijaz Mir, have been killed so far as well.In addition, over 150 militants have been killed in the encounters that erupted in the Valley this year. During the previous year, 165 were killed till December. | Photo Credit: The Hindu Abu Ismail, operational commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, had been elusive till he was shot and killed on a desolate stretch of road a mere 8 km from Srinagar, in the Aribagh area of Nowgam. He was in a truck with a fellow terrorist when it came to a security checkpoint in the afternoon. Ismail and his companion tried to run into a paddy field and head to a nearby residential area where they could have created a standoff.The encounter lasted only 10 minutes. At the end of it, the two terrorists lay dead. It was September 14, two months almost to the day that seven Amarnath Yatra pilgrims had been shot at indiscriminately after their bus was waylaid. Ismail was held responsible for the killing of seven pilgrims.Soon after Ismail fell, B.S. Raju, General Officer Commanding, Victor Force, which has been spearheading counterinsurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir, declared that he “expected a vacuum in the outfit’s top leadership”.Four days later, Mehmood Bhai, a foreigner, had emerged as his replacement, his footprints all over Bandipora in north Kashmir, when his men barged into the home of BSF constable Ramzan Parrey, dragged him out and killed him late in the evening. The constable had come on vacation. Jawans gather around the bodies of Abu Ismail and another militant after an encounter in Nowgam on September 14, 2017.center_img Abu Ismail, an LeT operational commander who led the attack on Amarnath pilgrims.  | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement A militant attends the funeral of another. File  | Photo Credit: The Hindu “As of now, the Hizb has no Valley-based operational commander after its top-ranking commanders were killed this year,” officials say.However, Hizb commanders like Saddam Paddar, alias Zaid, a district commander and an ‘A++’ category militant, has influence in Shopian and remains active since 2015.Reyaz Ahmad Naikoo, alias Zubair, active since December 2012, portrays himself as a Hizb ideologue and mainly recruits youth in south Kashmir.Despite encounter killings of militants, recruitment continues. In South Kashmir, out of 50, as many as 30 from in and around Pulwama have been recruited by the Hizb and Lashkar in the past five months. They are mostly overground workers or protesters who have been regularly converging at the funerals of those killed by the security forces.A splinter group of Zakir Rashid Bhatt alias Musa, once divisional commander of Hizb, has recruited people in small numbers, pushing youth towards a more hardline ideology, with al-Qaeda already declaring him in-charge of its affiliate in Kashmir.Jaish challengeMore than Hizb and LeT, security agencies say the resurfacing of Moulana Masood Azhar-founded Jaish-e-Muhammad poses a “more potent threat.”“Jaish believes in sensational attacks. We have to deal with them differently,” said Inspector-General of Police, Muneer Khan, after the recent sensational fidayeen attack on a BSF installation close to Srinagar airport.Security agencies say the killing of Jaish operational commander Khalid Bhai in Baramulla some days ago “cut the umbilical cord of its ranks with handlers across the border”.A small group of Jaish fidayeen still is a threat in and around Srinagar. However, Khalid’s killing has cut the link with the handlers, officials say. South Kashmir remained a battleground with the emergence of Burhan Wani in 2013, but militants are shifting base to north Kashmir “to make use of the forests in Bandipora, Baramulla and Kupwara”. Even after all the killing, the winter is set to be hot, with foreign militant numbers, according to Army figures, being as high as 70 in north Kashmir alone.“We fear local recruitment has picked up in north Kashmir, in Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora,” a police official said.last_img read more

Bihar ATS nabs Bangladeshi terror suspect from Pune district

first_imgA team of Bihar anti-terrorist squad (ATS), aided by the Pune ATS, has arrested an alleged terror suspect from Pune’s Chakan industrial area in connection.According to sources, Shariat Anwarul-haq Mandal (19), alleged to be a resident of Nadia district in West Bengal, was detained by the Maharashtra ATS in Chakan and arrested by the Bihar ATS team.He is believed to be an associate of the two Bangladeshi terror suspects arrested earlier this week by the Bihar ATS in Patna.The Bihar ATS on Monday had arrested Khairul Mandal and Abu Sultan, two Bangladeshi residents of Khulna alleged to have affiliations with terror outfits like the banned Jama’at-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and the Islamic State in Bangladesh.Shariat Mandal, who was reportedly working as a construction worker in Chakan, was produced before the Sessions court here and was later taken to Bihar for further questioning on a transit remand.Khairul Mandal and Abu Sultan had allegedly entered the country illegally without valid documents, had travelled to a number of states in a bid to induct youth into proscribed terror outfits. Shariat Mandal’s whereabouts was revealed following their interrogation.last_img read more

TOUCH FOOTBALL REACHING AUDIENCE OF MILLIONS!

first_imgThe profile of touch football in Australia is continuing to grow, with the latest media watch statistics showing touch football news has reached around 9 million people in the first three months of this year. Australian Touch Association CEO, Bill Ker says the statistics are both exciting and also interesting for the development and promotion of touch football in the media arena. “The Australian Touch Association has embarked on a twelve month media watch campaign to obtain an understanding of the extent of mentions the sport has in the media nationally,” says Mr Ker. “”The media for the past three months has been extensive with a wide reach nationally.” “It was also determined to extend the boundaries of the watch to cover New Zealand as well, because this will enable the ATA to not only quantify the media coverage in Australia but compare it with coverage from the other largest international member of the Federation of International Touch,” explains Mr Ker. The month of March saw touch football receive 138 mentions in the print, radio, television or online media. This was double the number of mentions for the months of January and February. In terms of audience numbers, it is estimated that these 138 stories reached almost 3.2 million people. This result, combined with the results recorded for January and February, shows touch football news has reached around 6.4 million people this year alone through the forms of print, radio or television. Mr Ker says the internet is another big winner in terms of coverage, with the ATA website recording a record number of hits in recent months. “Especially pleasing for the ATA is the homepage hits of over 3.5 million since November last year. The month of March produced 40,000 hits short of 1 million, which is a direct reflection of the interest the NTL generates. The ATA has studied the usage patterns of the homepage and is aiming the direction of the homepage information towards servicing those usage trends,” Mr Ker highlights. Since the beginning of the year almost 2.6 million hits have been recorded by the ATA, while at the peak of the NTL competition over 65,000 hits were recorded in just one day. It also needs to be mentioned that these statistics on internet usage relate purely to the ATA website and do not include statistics on the other international, state and local websites, who have also noticed an improvement in their website hits. Therefore these statistics can be said to be just the tip of the iceberg! By far the biggest improver in media coverage of touch was the number of television news stories. The month of March saw 20 touch football news stories produced, being primarily in state and regional news broadcasts. This number is also almost double the total number for January and February combined. In terms of audience numbers, the television coverage is estimated to have reached just over 500,000 for January and February, and over 800,000 for the month of March. The print media, which includes local, regional, state and national newspapers, reached the largest audience, with 83 stories published and an estimated number of almost 2.2 million readers. Wagga Wagga, Yass and several Western Australian media outlets are doing especially well, receiving regular coverage of their local and regional events in print and on radio and television. The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are other areas becoming more regular in the coverage touch football receives there. Coffs Harbour and the NTL’s were also successful, with the tournament being reported on the daily regional television news bulletins, as well as securing print and radio stories. With regional media outlets always searching for news stories, especially those of local interest, it is important for the ATA and all state and local organisations to continue to look for opportunities for touch football development through the media. “All in all the ATA is very pleased with the results of the media watch and the homepage usage and looks forward with confidence to a wider awareness of this great sport in the forthcoming months,” says Mr Ker. Rachel Moyle, 0422233165last_img read more

2012 State Of Origin Referees Announced

first_imgThe 2012 State of Origin Series will be held on Friday, 21 September and Saturday, 22 September 2012 at the Port Macquarie Regional Sports Stadium and will be held in conjunction with the Touch Football Australia 2012 X-Blades National Youth Championships event. To view the list, please click on the media release below. Related Files2012_soo_referees_announcement1-pdflast_img

2016 NTL Day Two Wrap

first_imgBy Eden Richards Teams will be putting it all on the line as they head into day three chasing a finals berth. Several competitions are evenly poised heading into the final day of fixtures.Injuries featured heavily on day two as many teams struggled with the extreme Coffs Harbour heat taking its toll. The Brisbane City Cobras sit undefeated at the top of the Mixed Open competition with the South Queensland Sharks and Sydney Rebels sitting 2nd and 3rd respectively. The Sydney Mets round out the top four. The Sydney Mets are the stand out team in the Men’s T League Pool A as they continue a strong undefeated run. Pool B is a Queensland affair with the Central Queensland Bulls (A) sitting undefeated on top and the South Queensland Sharks (A) just one win behind. It’s a two horse race in the Women’s T League Pool A as both the Hunter Western Hornets and Victoria sit on five wins from five starts.The two leaders will play tomorrow morning to decide who finishes first. Pool B is being dominated by Queensland with the top five teams all coming from the region. The Sunshine Coast Pineapples sit undefeated in 1st.The Sharks and the Rebels cannot be separated after day two of the Women’s 27’s with both sitting 10 points clear at the top of the standings. The Scorpions are the team to beat in the Men’s 30’s as they round out the 2nd day of competition undefeated. In a huge gap in the class the Hornets have failed to win a game and will look to disrupt the finals chances of their competitors tomorrow. The Pineapples and the Hornets are battling it out for 2nd and 3rd in the Women’s 35’s as the Cobras sit top. A clear top four has emerged in the Men’s 40’s with the Hornets, Mets and Cobras all undefeated. The Defence Warriors are chasing hard in 4th. The South West Queensland Swans remain undefeated in the Women’s 40’s with the North Queensland Tropical Cyclones and the Hornets sitting one game behind. The Scorpions and the Sharks have all but secured the top two spots in the Men’s 45’s and the Men’s 50’s. The Cyclones and the Southern Suns are dominating in Pool A of the Men’s 55’s and the Mets today extended their unbeaten run to four games in Pool B. The Senior Mixed is a battle between three with the Sharks A, Suns and Scorpions all sitting together at the top of the table on 16 points. Related LinksNTL Day Two Wraplast_img read more

10 months agoNew absence for Real Madrid attacker Bale

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say New absence for Real Madrid attacker Baleby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveGareth Bale is set to be missing for another two weeks at Real Madrid.The Welsh international suffered a calf problem in the 2-2 draw against Villarreal.First tests have revealed he will be sidelined for around two weeks, although he will undergo further tests. Therefore, Bale will miss the games against Real Sociedad, Leganes (Copa del Rey) and Real Betis, but he could re-appear for the second leg of the Copa del Rey clash with Leganes if all goes well. If he doesn’t make that on time, his objective will be to be fit again for the vital league game against Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu on Jan. 19. last_img read more

23 days agoNacho hands Real Madrid heavy injury blow

first_imgNacho hands Real Madrid heavy injury blowby Paul Vegas23 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveNacho has handed Real Madrid a heavy injury blow.The defender has suffered a ligament injury to his right knee during their 2-2 draw with Club Brugge last night.AS says the setback could see Nacho sidelined for three months.The defender has been played at left-back this season by coach Zinedine Zidane. About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img

Rates of syphilis increase in Alberta

first_imgSouth Zone: 31 cases, an increase of 138.5 percent compared to 2017Calgary Zone: 206 cases, an increase of 7.3 percent compared to 2017Central Zone: 88 cases, an increase of 266.7 percent compared to 2017Edmonton Zone: 977 cases, an increase of 305.4 percent compared to 2017North Zone: 208 cases, an increase of 324.5 percent compared to 2017 In 2018, a total of 1,536 cases of infectious syphilis were reported compared to 161 in 2014, almost a tenfold increase. The government shares this rate of infectious syphilis has not been this high in Alberta since 1948.While congenital syphilis cases were rare before the outbreak, There were 22 congenital syphilis cases between 2014 and 2018, one of which was stillborn. Congenital syphilis, which occurs when a child is born to a mother with syphilis, is a severe, disabling and life-threatening disease.Consistent and correct condom use is an important protection against STIs such as syphilis.As with other STIs, the symptoms of syphilis may not be obvious.Health experts recommend sexually active people, regardless of gender, age or sexual orientation, get tested every three to six months if they:have a sexual partner with a known STIhave a new sexual partner or multiple or anonymous sexual partnershave a previous history of an STI diagnosishave been sexually assaultedIt is critical that anyone who is pregnant seeks early prenatal care and testing for syphilis during pregnancy.Anyone experiencing STI-related symptoms should seek testing and speak to a family doctor to find testing and treatment options.In the 2018 case counts for infectious syphilis by AHS zone: EDMONTON, AB – Infectious and congenital syphilis rates have escalated across the province over the past five years, with a sharp increase in 2018.Due to the rapid increase in syphilis cases, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, has declared a provincial outbreak and is encouraging Albertans to get tested and protect themselves.“We need to emphasize for all Albertans: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are a risk to anyone who is sexually active, particularly people who have new sex partners and are not using protection. I encourage anyone who is sexually active to get tested regularly. Anyone in Alberta can access STI testing and treatment for free,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health.last_img read more

INS Ranjit to be decommissioned on May 6

first_imgNew Delhi: INS Ranjit, an Indian navy destroyer built by erstwhile USSR, will be decommissioned on May 6, officials said on Friday.The third of the five Kashin-class destroyers, it was commissioned in 1983 and has rendered service to the Navy for over 36 years. “On May 6, a glorious era of INS Ranjit, being the frontline missile destroyer of the Indian Navy, is going to end,” the Navy said in a statement. The ship will be decommissioned at a solemn ceremony at the Naval dockyard in Visakhapatnam. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThe ceremony will be attended by personnel who have served onboard the INS Ranjit in the past, and officers and sailors from the commissioning crew, it said. The chief guest for the ceremony would be Lieutenant Governor Andaman and Nicobar Islands Admiral (retired) Devendra Kumar Joshi. “INS Ranjit was constructed as Yard 2203 in the 61 Communards shipyard in the town of Nikolev in present day Ukraine. The keel of the ship was laid on June 29, 1977, and she was launched on June 16, 1979,” the statement said. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadThe ship was given its Russian name ‘Lovkly’, which means agile, and was commissioned as INS Ranjit on September 15, 1983, with Captain Vishnu Bhagwat at the helm, it said. The officer went on to serve as the chief of naval staff during the period 1996 to 1998. In her maiden sortie, the destroyer traversed through the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and Arabian Sea, the statement said. The ship has the distinction of serving in both the western and eastern seaboard and has been the Flag Ship of both the western and eastern fleets. INS Ranjit took part in PASSEX with the US Navy in 1991-92 which was a precursor to the Malabar series of exercises with the US Navy.It also took part in the first INDRA (India-Russia) exercise with the Russian Navy in 2003, according to the statement. The ship also participated in the first ever SAREX with the PLA Navy in November 2003. The ship in 2007 took part in the first ever Malabar exercise in the Pacific Ocean as well as the first ever INDRA series of exercises in Russian waters, the statement said. The ship was actively deployed as part of the Navy’s relief operations post the 2004 tsunami and cyclone Hud-Hud in 2014. In recognition to her service to the nation, the ship was awarded the Unit citation in 2003-04 and 2009-10, the statement said. “As the sun sets on May 6, the Naval Ensign and the commissioning pennant will be lowered for the last time onboard INS Ranjit, symbolising the end of the Ranjit era in the Indian Navy,” it said.last_img read more

Dutch Minister of FA Urges King Mohammed VI to Prevent Anti-Israeli…

first_imgCasablanca- According to Dutch news agency Novum, Frans Timmermans, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, has recently urged HM King Mohammed VI to prevent the adoption of a law seen as anti-Israeli law.  Last Thursday, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs urged HM King Mohammed VI, before the Dutch parliament, to prevent the adoption of the controversial draft law which is aimed at illegalizing any relations with Israel and with Israeli nationals.“I count on Morocco’s wisdom,”said Mr. Timmermans, responding to a question he was asked in the Dutch government, adding that “the Sovereign along with the government have to prevent such a law from seeing the light of day.” According to the draft law, which was presented by five parliamentary groups, the presence of Israelis in Morocco would be strictly prohibited, and would be deemed an “offense”punishable by “two to five years of incarceration and a fine between MAD 100,000 and MAD 1 million.”If passed, the anti-Israeli law would also ban the participation of Moroccans, both those residing in the Kingdom or in Israel, in Israeli-related activities.However, this is not the first time HM the King has been called upon to stop the anti-Israeli law from being adopted. In November 2013, a global Jewish human rights organization addressed a letter to King Mohamed VI urging him stop the anti-Israeli law from being enacted.The letter was sent by Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations.“In your absence, various groups in your Parliament plan to damage Morocco’s reputation for tolerance, its standing as a Western ally and its long history of warm ties with the Moroccan Jewish Diaspora in the United States, Europe and Israel,”he states in his letter.Since the anti-Israeli law was announced, many Moroccans, both Jews and Muslim, have been condemning it and warning against its negative repercussions.  “It would be a shame for our country to join the fanatics, because Morocco is known for its multicultural and multi-religious tolerance,”states Michel Attias, a Moroccan Jew living in California.“Moroccans please do not fall in this trap, the people with these insane ideas have no idea of the consequences our dear country will endure. We stand for a free Morocco with obviously the respect of each other’s religion and culture,”Attias adds. “Israel is Israel and being a Jew does not mean that you agree with Israel’s acts and policy.”Edited by Elisabeth Myers© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more