HUJI releases photograph of Ilyas Kashmiri after death, but it isn’t him


Left: a purported photograph of Ilyas Kashmiri after his death. Right: Ilyas Kashmiri before his death. The image on the left is published courtesy of the SITE Intelligence Group.

In addition to the statement released by Harkat ul Jihad-al-Islami spokesman Abu Hanzla Kashir that announced the death of top al Qaeda military leader Ilyas Kashmiri in the June 2 Predator airstrike in South Waziristan, HUJI also released a photograph that is purported to be Kashmiri after his death. The alleged photograph of Kashmiri above on the left and HUJI’s statement below have been republished with the permission of the SITE Intelligence Group.

Kashmiri was believed to be about 47 years old, and is known to have been blinded in one eye after fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan during the 1980s. Note that the picture shows the face of a clean-shaven man. Kashmiri is well known for photographs with his full beard and aviator sunglasses. One eye does appear to have been blinded, but is difficult to determine if that was the result of an injury years ago or an injury sustained in a Predator strike.


HUJI clearly is trying to pull a fast one here. With thanks to the many informed commenters here at Threat Matrix/The Long War Journal, we’ve learned that the photograph is actually that of Abu Dera Ismael Khan, one of the members of the suicide assault team that attacked Mumbai, India, in November 2008. You can see the image here.

This certainly calls into question the validity of the official HUJI statement made by Abu Hunzala Kashir. Keep in mind that another HUJI leader, Qari Mohammad Idrees, claimed Kashmiri was killed. So did HUJI botch the photograph, or are they attempting to fake Kashmiri’s death? If the latter, this would be the first time that I’ve detected this happening.

Translation of the statement released by HUJI on Kashmiri’s death:

On behalf of Harkat Jihad al-Islami 313 Brigade we confirm the fact that our leader and Commander-in-chief Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri, along with other companions, have been martyred in an American drone attack at 11:15 pm on June 3, 2011 and Insha Allah (God willing) the present pharaoh America will see our full revenge very soon. Our only target is America.


(Harkat ul Jihad al-Islami) 313 Brigade

Abu Hunzala

June 4, 2011

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Bill Roggio says:

    I will be the first to say it: I wish HUJI put some aviator glasses on that corpse so I could compare it to the stock photo… That said I do think it is him.

  • kp says:

    Given the lack of impact injuries to the head (and the openness of that attack site outside in an orchard) one might speculate that airburst SDB might have been used (e.g. like the killing of Zarkawi though in that case it wasn’t an SDB but a pair of 500lbs bombs). It kills the targets in it’s leathal radius but destroys the lungs with its overpressure leaving identifiable bodies that don’t survive. Useful for post attack ID.

  • Soccer says:

    That photo is morbid.
    When I opened up the front page just now, I saw the video of Shahzad’s last interview… this Long War has taken so many lives, it doesn’t anger me at this point… it’s just getting sad now.

  • Nic says:

    What are the Islamic burial traditions? Do they shave a man’s beard? I just did a quick check at Wikipedia, no mention of shaving beard. SOURCE: //
    Under what conditions would a Muslim shave his beard? Kashmiri looks older than the dead guy and Kashmiri’s lower lip look different.

  • Mahdi E Dra-culla says:

    I think the corpse has been handpicked by the ISI from its stock of innocent Balochs killed in the ISI run torture chambers. The seemingly in-explicable enthusiasm of a terrorist group to publish a not so flattering photograph of their dead leader seals it for me at least. Anyway I don’t think any one is fooled, certainly not those who handed Pakistan a list of 5 who need to be sent to their maker by the end of July.

  • sal says:

    The thing that bothers me is why Harkat-ul Jehad is going out of their way to prove Kashmiri is dead. No one asked them to produce a photo. Hope they are not faking his death so that US does not target him. Also the photo does not seem like that of a person who would be burnt to death in a drone attack.

  • jayc says:

    Take a look at the following article. It has his right ear clearly in view, and looks like he may have had acne in his youth. Also, there appears to be similarities with the teeth, nose and forehead. Think that’s him, also.
    Kashmiri killing: Worrying times for Pakistan militants

  • basanti says:

    Thats photo on left is of one of the dead terrorist killed during 26/11 mumbai attack.

  • V dutta says:

    it is not ilyas kashmiri. it is dead body of one of the dead terrorists from 2008 mumbai attacks

  • sachin says:

    That dead terrorist is not Iliyas kashmiri.thats the pic of terrorist killed in 26/11/2008 Mumbai attack.that dead terrorist’s name as released by Indian authorities after Mumbai attack is Abu Dera Ismael Khan. Please refer following link.
    It seems HUJI which is arm of ISI is doing propaganda in order to save kashmiri by declaring him dead by releasing wrong picture.

  • Mike Sherman says:

    Something doesn’t seem right. This pic was released in 2008 as one of the dead Mumbai attackers :

  • Mirage says:

    Seems like the godforsaken Al-Qaeda is finally running out of demons to lead it
    Do you think you could possibily make an article with the Al-Qaeda leaders who are still on the run Bill?

  • BullsEye says:

    The eyes and nose features seem to match as do the ear cavities’ shape when you look at other angles of the same photo with sunglasses.
    But the hair and eyebrows seem darker and more oily, perhaps from being wetted by his blood and then someone wiped away the blood, giving the moist look.
    Which one of his eyes was fake? The left one? In the death photo one wonders which eye is fake, the open one?
    Was the death photo taken while he was lying down or propped up?
    Anyhow, it’s incredible to see these guys finally feeling the heat after all this time. Well done to the men and women who make this happen; respect.

  • Arun says:

    It is not Ilyas Kashmiri. vdutta of bharat-rakshak forum pointed out that it is a 2008 picture of Abu Dera Ismael Khan, one of the Mumbai attackers.

  • Victor says:

    Bill that photo was released more than two years ago. It is one of the attackers from Mumbai.
    The speed at which the Huji claimed the death of IK meant either of the following:
    1. He was killed with the full support of the ISI who were eager to let him go to please Clinton. They will now dither on the bigger fish on the list.
    2. IK just finished life #2 of his nine lives. There are seven more to go.

  • Shahid says:

    The picture is an old one, released by Indian authorities of one Abu Ismail Dera Ismail Khan killed in the 26/11 attacks.
    The picture can be found on the interweb, in Reuters archive too, by searching for that name. I do not know how SITE could have overlooked a simple reverse image search.

  • Noah says:

    No its not. The photo is one of the Pakistani terrorists from the Mumbai attacks on 11/26/2008.
    Looks like another misinformation campaign by Pakistani establishment (PA/ISI) to preserve its “strategic assets”.
    Since when did the alphabet soup terror groups in Pakistan start posting photos of their dead “martyrs”.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Thanks everyone, I updated the entry with a tip o’ the hat to you all. Appreciated. And nice find.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Noah, they have released photos in the past; Baitullah Mehsud for one. But this is clearly a put on.

  • Uday says:

    I am sure they are trying to pull a fast one here. Ilyas Kashmiri has possibly made a pact with Pakistani ISI and army that he would not attack their installations in the future. He would rather concentrate on US and India.
    In return, Pakistan will declare him dead so that the US does not go looking for him. And that all Harkat leaders will call news organizations confirming that he his dead. Doesn’t it seem like Harkat is desperately trying to prove to the world that Kashmiri is dead, and they are going overboard in the process? We already have a fake photo, and a video of the attack site take by a “tribesman”. They are being really helpful!!!
    No wonder his organization then declares that “US is our only target”.

  • kp says:

    So the question is … where did SITE get the photo (from HUJI? They sent a fax not an email?) and why did they believe it was real?

  • Noah says:

    Why would HuJI go through this hasty, amateur exercise? And worse, why did SITE publish this without verification?

  • Atul says:

    That is wrong information. The pic is of one of Mumbai attackers not kashmiri.
    The Pic is of terrorist Abu Dera Ismael Khan.
    see this:

  • isheorisnthe? says:

    KP, SITE probably picked it up from some of “their sites”, where the pic is posted. You can find those by googling: ???? ?????? ???????? (?????? 313)
    You may note the posts says the image come from YouTube. Dont know why SITE didn’t vet it.
    On another note, //
    says “oon after the missile strikes, Pakistani security forces in Wana came out of their military camp and started searching some private health centres and schools believing that some important militant commanders suffering injuries in the attack were being provided treatment.
    Official and tribal sources said four people, two of them local and two hailing from Punjab, were taken into custody from one privately-owned health centre and shifted them to an unknown location. There was no information about their identity.”

  • isheorisnthe? says:

    Supposed Video of the bodies in the apple grove.
    The video was first reported here:

  • kp says:

    In the video

    I count 7 white sheet wrapped bodies i.e. prepared for Islamic burial. I presume they’ve been washed but even so there aren’t too many obvious stains from bodily fluids. Are there two other bodies under black blankets? Or have two been whiksed away? That would tend to support the IK and AQ leader being killed? Aside from one (who looks a bit short … on the “bed” like thing) all the bodies look intact.

    I presume the meaningful gaze across to the apple grove is where the attack took place (as the area where the bodies are being prepared doesn’t look damaged).

    I presume the people preparing the bodies (who are quite well dressed) are from the local mosque/madrassa? None appear armed. I guess they leave clean-up to the locals rather than risking their own necks.

  • villiger says:

    Kashmiri dead or alive? Gilani says yes, US says no
    Gosh can America and Pakistan agree on anything? I’m just being facetious though one has to say the level of mistrust, yes Paks ‘trust deficit’ for you, is incredible.


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