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IC 814 hijacker Zahoor Mistry killed in Pakistan, Masood Azhar’s brother attends funeral: Reports

One of the hijackers of IC 814 flight, Zahoor Mistry, has been killed in Pakistan, according to multiple media reports in that country.

Mistry is reported to have been killed on March 1 by two bike-borne assailants in Karachi’s Akhtar colony. The killing was confirmed by Pakistan’s Geo TV, which identified him as a “businessman” from Karachi. Mistry had been living in Karachi under the fake identity of “Zahid Akhund” and operated a furniture business by the name of Crescent Furniture.

Pakistan media reports said that Mistry’s funeral was attended by Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar’s brother Rauf Asghar, among others from the terror group. The local media also showed CCTV footage of the assailants loitering in the area before the murder.

The Indian Airlines flight had been hijacked on December 24, 1999, after it took off from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, en route to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. Mistry was among the five hijackers, including Rauf Asghar and Azhar’s elder brother Ibrahim Azhar. It was Mistry who had killed one of the passengers, 25-year-old Rupin Katyal, on the flight. Katyal was returning to Delhi with his wife after a honeymoon in Kathmandu.

The flight, with 180 passengers including the crew, had been hijacked while it was flying over Lucknow and taken to Amritsar for refuelling. After taking off from Lucknow it tried to land in Lahore but was denied permission by Pakistan. It was then taken to Kandahar, where the then Taliban government in Afghanistan joined the negotiations for the release of passengers.

The negotiations ended on December 31, 1999, with the release of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar from an Indian prison along with Omar Saeed Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar. The trio was then affiliated with the terror group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen.

After being released and handed over to Taliban authorities, the three crossed over to Pakistan. Azhar has since masterminded multiple terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of India, including the 2016 Pathankot airbase attack and the 2019 Pulwama attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF soldiers

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