The photo of a Hizbul Mujahideen commander killed in a J&K encounter that went viral is actually of an ISIS militant.

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A key commander of the blacklisted terrorist organisation Hizbul Mujahideen was killed in an encounter between militants and security forces in Handwara, North Kashmir, earlier this morning.

Following this, reports of the event, as well as a photograph of Mehraj-ud-din Halwai alias Ubiad, a notorious terrorist, flooded Twitter, with many applauding the security personnel. The photo that has gone viral has a man taking a selfie in a cat with a firearm.


Several verified Twitter accounts, including  Swarajya, The Lallantop, went on to share this image.

The caption of the tweet by Swarajya read, “Oldest Top Commander Of Hizbul Mujahideen Mehrazuddin Halwai Killed By Security Forces In Early Morning Encounter”.


The Lallantop went on to caption their tweet as: “मेहराजुद्दीन हलवाई उर्फ उबैद. हिज्बुल मुजाहिदीन का टॉप कमांडर. उत्तरी कश्मीर के हंदवाडा जिले में हुई एक मुठभेड़ में बुधवार 7 जुलाई की सुबह सुरक्षाबलों ने उसे मार गिराया. कश्मीर के आईजी विजय कुमार ने इसे एक बड़ी कामयाबी बताया.”

Transaltion: Mehrajuddin Halwai alias Ubaid. Top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen. He was gunned down by security forces on Wednesday 7 July morning in an encounter that took place in Handwara district of North Kashmir. Kashmir IG Vijay Kumar called it a big success.


The photograph was also posted by BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh and BJP Delhi spokesman Ajay Sehrawat.



Gaurav C Sawant (Senior Executive Editor at IndiaToday) and Aditya Raj Kaul (Contributing Editor at CNN News18), also posted about the incident, using the same photograph of the man.



The tweet has been shared over 900 times since it was posted this morning.




Several news organisations, including Lallantop (Archive)Madhyamam (Archive), Swarajya (Archive) and TimesNow (Archive) used this image in their article. However, Swarajya took down the article and Times Now changed the image when claims that the image used was wrong surfaced.


The Lallantop

Dainik Jagran


The photograph accompanying the tweets and news articles is not of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Mehrazuddin Halwai alias Ubaid. It is of Omar Ali Hussain, a British Islamic terrorist and member of the Islamic State.


On using Google’s reverse image search, we found articles from as early 2014-15 by BBC and The Times where the image has been used. According to these articles, Omar Hussain became a prominent figure in Islamic State propaganda on social media, advocating for terror strikes, threatening Britain in conversations with the BBC, and defending beheadings and other crimes.



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Suramya Sunilraj

Suramya Sunilraj is a student at the Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune.