Security forces reportedly clashed with militants in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir state on Thursday, May 23. Local sources claim security forces were attacked during a search operation targeting Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind militants in the Dadsara area of Tral sub-district. Unconfirmed reports state at least two militants were killed in the initial clashes, including the group's chief Zakir Musa. Officials subsequently suspended mobile internet services in the state on Thursday as security forces continue to conduct operations.
Further security operations and fighting between armed groups and security forces is likely in the coming weeks and months.
Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind is an Al-Qaeda affiliated group operating in Jammu and Kashmir state. Zakir Musa - also known as Zakir Rashid Bhat - was named the group's leader in 2017.
Separatists have been fighting Indian rule in Kashmir since 1989. Some 70,000 people have died and many more have been injured in related violence, uprisings, and military crackdowns.
Individuals in Kashmir are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid the affected area, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
Some Western governments advise their citizens against travel to parts of Kashmir, notably including areas along the Line of Control (LoC), due to the significant risk of violence
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