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ISIS’s Omair Hussain photo used by Media to report encounter of Mehrazuddin Halwai in Kupwara

Written by Md Mahfooz Alam

On 7 July 2021, Mehrazuddin Halwai alias Ubaid, a top commander of the Terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen was killed by the security forces in an encounter. He was killed in Kupwara, North Kashmir.

Aditya Raj Kaul, contributing editor of CNN NEWS18 posted a photo of a man with a gun on Twitter on 7 July and claimed that the man is Mehrazuddin Halwai and was killed in an early morning encounter with security forces. The caption along with the post reads: “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 a contemporary of Burhan Wani. Halwai killed Kashmiris on orders of Hizbul Chief Syed Salahuddin.” (Archived)

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/Screenshot)

Swarajya a monthly print magazine and news portal also used the same image in an article titled: “Oldest Top Commander of Hizbul Mujahideen Mehrazuddin Halwai Killed By Security Forces In Early Morning Encounter”. (Archive)

(Photo Courtesy:

Newspaper The New India Express also reported the news of the killing of Mehrazuddin Halwai using the same photo.

(Photo Courtesy: TNIE/Screenshot)

Tarun Chugh, National General Secretary of BJP posted the same photo with the claim that reads: “जम्मू कश्मीर – हंदवाड़ा के पाजीपोरा में सुरक्षाबलों ने एनकाउंटर में हिज्बुल मुजाहिदीन के टॉप कमांडर मेहराजुद्दीन हलवाई उर्फ उबैद को ढेर कर दिया हैं। वह कई आतंकी हमलों में शामिल था। जय हिन्द” (Jammu and Kashmir – Security forces have killed Mehrajuddin Halwai alias Ubaid, top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen in an encounter in Pazipora, Handwara. He was involved in many terrorist attacks. Jai Hind)

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/Screenshot)

An archived version of the same claims can be accessed here, here, here, here, here and here.

FactO Check:

We found that the claim of Mehrazuddin Halwai being neutralized by the security forces in an encounter is true but the photo being shared is not him but Omair Hussain.

On conducting a reverse search of the photo we found it to be used by many international media outlets. According to an article published by the BBC on 17 September 2015 titled: “What a British jihadist’s anti-Arab rant tells us about life in the so-called Islamic State”, Omar Hussain is an ISIS terrorist who along with at least 700 British citizens had traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the terror groups.

He actively used social media to do the propaganda for the Islamic State atrocities. He justified beheadings, terror attacks and also threatened Britain in an interview with BBC.

(Photo Courtesy: BBC/Screenshot)

We also found a Buck Free Press article published on 18 August 2019 titled: “Wycombe jihadi Omar Hussain ‘dies in ISIS suicide bombing”.  According to this article, Omar Hussain had killed himself by volunteering for the “martyrdom operation”. He died in a suicide bombing when Kurdish forces drove the terrorists out of the city of Raqqa, Syria.

(Photo Courtesy: Buck Free Press/Screenshot)


The terrorist being claimed as Mehrazuddin Halwai of Hizbul Mujahideen is Omar Hussain a British Citizen who joined ISIS in 2015. Omar Hussain had killed himself in 2019 in a suicide bombing.

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About the author

Md Mahfooz Alam

Mahfooz is a multimedia journalist and regularly writes fact-check stories for Facto News. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. He has worked as an intern fact-checker for The Quint. He specializes in research and fact-checking and aspires to do investigative reporting.

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