NATIONAL

IS claims it has set up a ‘province’ in India

It also claimed that the IS inflicted casualties on soldiers at Amshipora in Shopian district. The statement corresponds to the one from the police on Friday that a militant, called Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi, was killed in an encounter in Shopian.

The IS’s statement appears to be designed to bolster its standing after the group was driven in April from its self-styled “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, where at one point it controlled thousands of miles of territory.

The IS has stepped up hit-and-run raids and suicide attacks, including taking responsibility for the recent bombings in Sri Lanka that killed at least 253 people.

“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 tracks 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 for rebuilding the map of the IS ‘caliphate’.”

Multiple attacks

Sofi was involved in several militant groups in Kashmir for more than a decade before pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, according to a military official on Saturday and an interview given by Sofi to a Srinagar-based magazine sympathetic to the IS.

He was suspected of several grenade attacks on security forces in the region, police and military sources said. The military official said it was possible that Sofi had been the only militant left in Kashmir associated with the IS.