Viral photo of top Hizbul commander killed in J&K encounter is actually of ISIS militant

The viral photo is not of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Mehrazuddin Halwai, but British security guard-turned ISIS militant, Omar Hussain.

British ISIS militant Omar Hussain | Twitter

New Delhi: Top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Mehrazuddin Halwai alias Ubaid was killed in an encounter with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district Wednesday, police said.

Sharing the news of his encounter, several media reports and Twitter users posted a picture, claiming the man to be Ubaid.

The widely circulated picture shows him taking a selfie in a car while holding a rifle. He can also be seen wearing glasses in the picture.

CNN-News18 contributor Aditya Raj Kaul also tweeted the image with the caption: “Top Hizbul terrorist killed in Kashmir. MehrajuDin Halwai, a top terror Commander was killed in an early morning encounter with security forces in Handwara, North Kashmir. He was contemporary of Burhan Wani. Halwai killed Kashmiris on orders of Hizbul Chief Syed Salahuddin.”

The tweet has been shared almost 500 times.

BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh and BJP Delhi spokesperson Ajay Sehrawat also shared the image.

Lallantop and Times Now also used the wrong photo in their reports.

Fact check

The viral photo is not of Ubaid, but British security guard-turned ISIS militant, Omar Hussain.

The image surfaced on the internet around 2014-15. A BBC report, published in September 2015, identifies the man in the image as Hussain alias Abu Saeed al Britani, who was among 700 Britons to travel to Syria and Iraq to join militant groups.

According to the report, Hussain was active on social media at the time and had called for terror attacks. He also threatened Britain in interviews with the BBC and defended beheadings.

Hussain was born in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. Before joining ISIS, he worked in a British supermarket chain, Morrisons, as a security guard.

(In collaboration with SM Hoaxslayer)


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