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SIMI and IM members drawn to Indian wing of IS

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Islamic State

New Delhi: An Indian terror group which pledges allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) is a reorganised group of the virtual Indian Mujahideen and SIMI elements. According to intelligence sources, it recruits new members in order to carry out a chain of terror strikes across the country.

This fact came out during the questioning of 14 suspected Islamic State (IS) sympathisers who were arrested last week from 12 places in six cities in a synchronised raid conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the sources added.

Those inspired by the IS ideology were hooked by Yusuf-al-Hind who, the Indian security agencies believe, is former Indian Mujaheedin (IM) member Shafi Armar, a resident of Bhatkal in Karnataka.

Armar, now believed to be in the Islamic State-held area along the border of Iraq and Syria, formed ‘Janood-ul-Khalifa-e-Hind’ and recruited Mumbai-based 33-year-old Mudabbir Mushtaq Shaikh as ‘Amir’ (chief) of the group.

Official sources to the investigation said that Armar also recruited his brother Sultan and others who had worked for Indian Mujahideen and the now-banned Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

“Apart from former IM and SIMI members, Armar chose those who are basically inspired by the IS ideology. He first recruited his close aides and then inspired them to recruit more supporters,” an official, on condition of anonymity.

“They used social networking sites and made calls through the internet (using VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol) to activate the sleeper cells of IM and SIMI,” the official said.

Another intelligence source declining to be identified said that the outfit members were directed to carry out strikes in multiple cities, including Hyderabad in Telangana, Bengaluru, Manglore and Tumkur in Karnataka, Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, and Aurangabad and Mumbai in Maharashtra.

“They were asked to organise training camps like how to use fire arms before the attack. They were also trying to establish channels for procuring explosives and weapons,” the official source said.

The leadership of Janood-ul-Khalifa-e-Hind, active since April 2015, was following the IM and SIMI set-ups by choosing their organised central, state and city level core groups, the official said.

The 14 men, allegedly influenced by IS and arrested by the NIA, are also said to have revealed that the 20-year-old Uttar Pradesh-based Mohammed Aleem was chosen as Naib Amir, the second-in-command of the group after Mudabbir.

The sources said Karnataka resident Najmul Huda was the military commander and 24-year-old Hyderabadi Mohammed Nafees Khan was the Finance Chief of the outfit.

All these major group leaders were arrested along with their aides Mohammed Shareef Moinuddin Khan, Mohammed Afzal, Syed Mujahid, Mohammed Obedullah Khan, Abu Anas, Asif Ali, Suhail Ahmed, Muhammad Abdul Ahad, Mohammad Hussain Khan, and Imran Khan.(IANS)

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U.S’s SDF Arrests Five IS Agents, Five More Deported From Syria

Syrian Kurdish officials last September told VOA they were holding in their prisons 514 IS foreign fighters, along with 534 wives and 1175 children of IS foreign members

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Syria, SDF
FILE - Suspected Islamic State members sit inside a small room in a prison south of Mosul, July 18, 2017. (VOA)

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Monday confirmed the arrest of five Islamic State foreign fighters and the handover of five more to their governments in efforts to rid eastern Syria of the jihadists.

In an interview with VOA, SDF spokesperson Mustafa Bali confirmed the five IS fighters, two Americans, two Pakistanis, and one Irish, were arrested on Dec. 30 during a special operation in eastern Deir el-Zour province.

He said the operation saved dozens of displaced civilians from being targeted.

“Our special anti-terror forces obtained information that IS thugs were planning an attack against civilians who are fleeing the war zone,” Bali told VOA. “We conducted that operation based on the information and arrested five of them who are in our prisons now.”

Syria, SDF
Deir el-Zour (VOA)

 

In a statement, the SDF identified the American men as Warren Christopher Clark, 34, nicknamed Abu Mohammad al-Ameriki, and Zaid Abed al-Hamid, 35, nicknamed Abu Zaid al-Ameriki. It said the other two men, Fadel al-Rahman Cad, 48, nicknamed Abu Enam al-Muhajir, and Abed al-Azem Rajhoud, 19, nicknamed Abu Omea al-Pakistani, travelled from Pakistan. The fifth man, Alexandr Ruzmatovich Bekmirzaev, 45, is originally from Dublin,Ireland.

Spokesperson Bali said an investigation is under way to obtain more details about the men and their activities in eastern Syria, adding that more jihadists could be arrested as the U.S.-backed forces make further advances in the days to come.

The SDF said the arrests are part of their Jazeera Storm operation, supported by the U.S.-led global coalition against IS, to remove the terror group from its last bastions in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border.

“ISIS, which is now cornered in a small area after being cleared from large swathes of territory it once held, is suffering heavy losses due to operations of our forces,” the SDF said in its statement Saturday, using another acronym for IS.

SDF
Families and relatives of Islamic State militants are seen after they surrendered themselves to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in al-Ayadiya, northwest of Tal Afar, Iraq, Aug. 30, 2017. (VOA)

IS families

Meanwhile, the SDF said Monday it also handed over five IS fighters, along with 11 wives and 30 children of IS fighters, from Kazakhstan to Kazakh authorities following months of preparation for their transfer.

The SDF did not disclose the identities of the IS fighters and their family members but said the move was part of a formal protocol with Kazakhstani government, meditated by the U.S.

Also Read: US Troops Would Be Withdrawing From Syria Over A Period of Time: Donald Trump

“The reason that made the handing over of those people got late was technical reasons. The agreement was applied on 5 Jan 2019, where they were formally handed over to their country with American mediation,” the SDF said in the statement.

Syrian Kurdish officials last September told VOA they were holding in their prisons 514 IS foreign fighters, along with 534 wives and 1175 children of IS foreign members, from 44 countries. The officials said they were overwhelmed by the burden and asked the relevant countries to retake their nationals. (VOA)