- 27 'terror trainees' in fatigues, posing in forest clearing in 3 rows
- They're being trained to infiltrate into India for attacks: reports
- Photo emerges after Burhan Wani's brother was killed in south Kashmir
The image posted by news agency ANI shows 27 "terror trainees" in fatigues, posing in a forest clearing in three rows. The terrorists are described as the "latest batch of Hizb-Ul-Mujahideen trainees at a camp in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir". The terrorists are being trained to infiltrate into India for attacks, say reports.
The photo has emerged just days after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani's successor Sabzar Ahmad Bhat and seven others were killed in Tral in south Kashmir in a hugely successful anti-terror operation by security forces on the weekend. The army also stopped a massive infiltration bid by terrorists from Pakistan. It is being speculated that the photo has been circulated in an attempt to "boost the morale" of the terror rank and file after their heavy losses.
Over the past few years, the home-grown terror outfit has been known to challenge security forces by posting on social media provocative group photos and videos of its recruits, smiling into the camera while flaunting their weapons.
Last year, Hizbul Mujahideen uploaded a photo of 10 terrorists, including Burhan Wani, a 21-year-old terror commander whose killing by the forces led to violent clashes in Kashmir.
The Army has said that infiltration attempts are likely to spike with the melting of snow and opening of passes and "more proactive counter-terrorism operations" will be needed.
In September, the army carried out surgical strikes in which soldiers went across the Line of Control and targeted terror launch pads.