Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 13, 2017: Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. V.K. Singh on Wednesday said no ransom was paid for the release of Kerala Catholic priest Tom Uzhunnallil.
The priest, who was abducted by the Islamic State (IS) terrorists from Aden in March last year, was brought to Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman on Tuesday. He has reached the Vatican, said a Church spokesperson on Wednesday.
“No ransom was paid and the reason why Oman got into the efforts for release is… when direct efforts do not yield results, indirect measures are adopted and what’s important is to solve the problem,” Singh said while addressing the media here.
On a question when the priest is expected to return to India, the Minister said: “He (Tom) will have to decide that.” (IANS)
The son of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died in a suicide attack mission in the city of Homs in western Syria, according to the IS media al-Nashir News.
Posting the photograph of a young boy, purportedly Hudhayfah al-Badri, al-Baghdadi’s son, the outlet said he lost his life in an operation against the Russian forces deployed in Homs and the Syrian government forces, referred to as Nusayriyyah by IS.
“Hudhayfah al-Badri (may Allah accept him), the son of the Caliph (may Allah safeguard him), was killed in an inghimasi [suicide] operation against the Nusayriyyah and the Russians at the thermal power station in Homs Willayah,” the news outlet reported.
Inghimasi refers to suicide operations in which a fighter, clad with explosive belt and armed with regular weapons, attacks an enemy position before detonating himself to inflict as much damage on the enemy as possible.
The U.S. military said it has seen the reports of al-Badri’s death but declined any confirmation.
“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on an attack on forces outside the Coalition. We have nothing more to provide,” U.S. Central Command told VOA.
An Iraqi national, al-Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri, announced the Islamic State caliphate in the city of Mosul in June 2014 and made himself its caliph. The leader has since become the world’s most wanted man, with a $25 million bounty on his head.
Al-Baghdadi’s fate is still unknown, with various reports claiming his death and injury several times, including a claim by the Russian Defense Ministry that he might have been hit by a Russian airstrike in 2017.
Those claims have been rejected by U.S. officials and the whereabouts of the elusive leader remain unknown.
Al-Baghdadi’s infamous role in IS has put a spotlight on his family. In March 2014, al-Baghdadi’s wife, Sujidah al-Dulaimi, was released, along with her two sons and daughter, in exchange for 13 nuns taken captive by al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front militants.