IS claims ‘province’ in India for first time after clash in Kashmir

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

Islamic State (IS) claimed for the first time that it has established a “province” in India, after a clash between militants and security forces in Kashmir killed a militant with alleged ties to the group.

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

The IS statement corresponds with a police statement on Friday that a militant called Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi was killed in an encounter in Shopian.

The statement establishing the new province appears to be designed to bolster its standing after the group was driven from its self-styled “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in April, where at one point it controlled thousands of miles of territory. IS has stepped up suicide attacks, including the Easter bombing in Sri Lanka that killed at least 253 people.

“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 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’.”

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

A spokesman for Union home ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Source: Hindustan Times

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