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After fall of Raqqa, return of ISIS fighters worries India

NEW DELHI: After the fall of Islamic State‘s de facto capital Raqqa last week, several countries, including India, are gearing up to the threat of return of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) which, security agencies say, should not be taken lightly.

Counter-terrorism officials say several IS Fighters of Indian origin, who had travelled to Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan before or after 2014 in groups or individually, will now try to return to India after the loss of territory by the dreaded terror outfit.

The arrest of three IS suspects – Abdul Razk, Midilaj and MV Rashid, residents of Kerala, by police on Wednesday upon their return from Turkey is a sign that ISIS fighters are making attempts to return.

The number of Indians in Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi-led terror outfit is a miniscule, a little over 100, as compared to the number of fighters from UK, France, Belgium or Russia, but the fact that they would be highly trained; capable of easily mingling with the local population; and may work as part of ‘sleeper cells’ or for ‘lone wolf’ attacks cannot be overlooked.

Investigators said the arrested operatives, along with others from Kerala, had travelled to Turkey and Syria to fight alongside Islamic State. Sources said Razk, Rashid and Midilaj are also linked to Shajahan Velluva Kandy alias Mohamed Ismail Mohideen, who was arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi Police in July on his return from Turkey. NIA got five-day custody of Mohideen on Wednesday to question him about others who may try to come back to India.

Officials feel there is an urgent need to keep a close watch on Indian airports, ports, borders or other entry/exit points and all the agencies should update themselves with the latest information/data on suspects who travelled to ISIS territories or other countries with a dream to fight for the so-called caliphate.

Indian intelligence agencies also need to be in touch with partner countries in counter-terrorism efforts like the US, UK, France, Turkey, UAE, Iran and Saudi Arabia to alert about suspicious Indian travellers, who could be using fake identities to return to India, apart from taking help from Interpol to scan its database of 40,000 foreign terrorist fighters, said officials.

Source : timesofindia

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After fall of Raqqa, return of ISIS fighters worries India


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