Islamic State Announces Launch of Indian ‘Province’

Kashmir Muslim protesters hold a flag of Islamic State as they shout anti-India slogans during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Friday, April 8, 2016. Police fired teargas and pellet guns to disperse Kashmiris who gathered after Friday afternoon prayers to protest against Indian control over a part of …
AP Photo/Dar Yasin

ROME — The Islamic State announced the formation of a new Indian subsidiary on Saturday after clashes with Indian forces in Kashmir.

The new jihadist chapter, called “Wilayat al Hind” (“the Province of India”), represents the Islamic State’s first attempt to establish a beachhead in India, just as the Islamist terror group is suffering near eradication in its former realms.

On Friday night, the Amaq News Agency, the propaganda arm of ISIS, announced the birth of the new province while claiming to have inflicted casualties on the ranks of Indian Army soldiers in the city of Amshipora in the Shopian district of Kashmir, a disputed territory between India and Pakistan.

ISIS released a statement alleging that an Islamist militant called Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi was killed in an encounter with the Indian soldiers in Shopian District, which corresponds to a statement released by Indian police.

“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 monitors 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,’” she said.

After a period of relative dormancy, the Islamic State has begun stepping up raids and suicide attacks and claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday massacre in Sri Lanka that killed over 25o people.

As Iraqi News reported, the Islamic State gained global notoriety in early 2014 when it drove Iraqi government forces out of key cities in its Western Iraq offensive, followed by the capture of Mosul and a massacre in Sinjar.

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