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Growing echoes of ISIS in India

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By Rajesh Ghosh

After the alleged ISIS recruit Areeb Majeed’s bail plea was rejected a month earlier by a special NIA court, the External Affairs ministry sought his internet and financial information from four West Asian countries and a European state.

Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Turkey and Luxemburg have been sent requests seeking details of his travel and stay related financial transactions. They have also been urged to share all pertinent internet activities undertaken in these countries.

Although a relatively less number of Indian youths have been reported to be either actively engaged in jihadist activities in West Asia or are directly in touch with recruits, the Indian intelligence has not taken them lightly. There is a looming fear of ‘Lone Wolf’ attacks within the Indian territory and attacks by returning radicalized jihadists hardened by their experience in the battlefields of Iraq and Syria.

Indian Intelligence is also wary of the growing interest of India in Jihadist circles. In a video message released in late 2014, the Al-Qaeda supremo Al-Zawahiri called on Muslims ‘to wage jihad against enemies, to liberate their land’ as he announced the opening of a so-called ‘Indian branch’. Earlier this year ISIS flags were seen fluttering at various protests in Kashmir which send chills down the spine of intelligence agencies.

ISIS, also derogatorily called Daesh among many circles, has also increased activities in India’s neighbourhood of Bangladesh. Many attacks including a deadly attack in a Shia mosque and an attack on an Italian priest have been claimed by the ISIS.  There is growing fear within Indian Intelligence circles of the spillover of this growing ISIS footprint in Bangladesh.

While India’s fears are legitimate any exaggeration of the ISIS threat must be avoided. Indian stability is more threatened by its homegrown radicalized youths and Maoist activities. However, the intelligence agencies must stay on their toes to prevent any large-scale Paris-like attack in vulnerable Indian cities. (Image: Patrika)

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President of Egypt Calls for Collective Action Against Countries Supporting Terrorism

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Terrorism egypt
The president of Egypt Urges world leaders to take decisive action against states supporting terrorism. Pixabay

Egypt’s president Wednesday called for “decisive” and “collective” action against countries supporting “terrorism” in an apparent reference to Turkey and Qatar, who back the Muslim Brotherhood group, which is outlawed in Egypt.

The three countries also support opposing factions in the war-torn Libya.

Addressing a two-day forum on peace in Africa in the southern city of Aswan, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi also said achieving sustainable development in Africa is needed, along with efforts to fight militant groups in Egypt and the Sahel region that stretches across Africa south of the Sahara Desert.

“There should be a decisive response to countries supporting terrorism and a collective response against terrorism, because the terrorist groups will only have the ability to fight if they are provided with financial, military and moral support,” he said.

Abdel Fattah Al Sisi Egypt
The President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. VOA

The gathering in Aswan is attended by the leaders of Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Senegal along with officials from the U.S., Britain and Canada.

The Sahel region is home to al-Qaida and Islamic State group-linked militants. El-Sissi said Egypt could help train forces and provide weapons to countries in the region to fight extremists.

Egypt has for years been battling an Islamic State-led insurgency that intensified after the military overthrew an elected but divisive Muslim Brotherhood President Muhammad Morsi in 2013 amid mass protests against his brief rule.

Militant-related violence in Egypt has been centered on the Sinai Peninsula, as well as in the country’s vast Western Desert, which has witnessed deadly attacks blamed on militants infiltrating from neighboring Libya.

Since Morsi’s ouster, tensions have grown between Egypt and Turkey and Egypt and Qatar. The political party of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Cairo designated as at terrorist group in 2013.

Upcoming conference

El-Sissi also said a “comprehensive, political solution would be achieved in the coming months” for the conflict in Libya, which descended into chaos after the 2011 civil war that ousted and killed long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi. He did not elaborate.

Egypt
This photo provided by the office of Egypt’s president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, dignitaries including Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, gather, for a photo during a two-day forum on peace in Africa in the southern city of Aswan, Egypt. VOA

He said that would put an end to a “terrorist hotbed that pushes militants and weapons to (Libya’s) neighboring countries including Egypt.”

El-Sissi apparently was referring to an international summit in Berlin that aims to reach an agreement on actions needed to end the conflict. The conference had been scheduled for October, but it has apparently been postponed.

After the 2011 civil war, Libya split in two, with a weak U.N.-supported administration in Tripoli overseeing the country’s west and a rival government in the east aligned with the Libyan National Army led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter.

Maritime border agreement 

El-Sissi’s comments came amid heightened tensions with Turkey after a controversial maritime border agreement it signed last month with Libya’s Tripoli-based government.

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Greece, Egypt and Cyprus, which lie between the two geographically, have denounced the deal as being contrary to international law, and Greece expelled the Libyan ambassador last week over the issue.

Hifter has for months been fighting an array of militias allied with the Tripoli authorities to wrestle control of the capital.  He is backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia, while the Tripoli-based government receives aid from Turkey, Qatar and Italy. (VOA)