The five Hyderabad youths, arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on June 29 for allegedly planning terror attacks on behalf of the Islamic State (IS), were deeply radicalised and the agency has found evidence of the group’s connection with IS, according to sources.
The evidence is in the form of ‘Baya’ (an oath of allegiance) to the “Caliph of Islamic State” that was signed by the five members, scanned and emailed to their handler, Shafi Armar. Armar had purportedly assured the group that he would send it to IS chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
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According sources, the leader of the group, Ibrahim Yazdani, is the most radicalised and had twice attempted to reach Syria, via Greece, with wife, one-year-old son and brother Ilyas, who has also been arrested.
According to NIA sources, one of the five had sold his wife’s jewellery to fund the activities of the group and another tech-savvy terror suspect had posted requirement for air pistol and pellets on e-tailing platform Amazon.in.
The agency also claims to have identified a Jordanian national, Suhaib Al-Abudi, who first motivated group leader Ibrahim Yazdani to join the IS while he was in Saudi Arabia. Al-Abudi allegedly died fighting for the IS in Syria later, the sources said.
According to an NIA officer, Al-Abudi and Yazdani had “met at work in Saudi Arabia, where Yazdani spent three years. Although Yazdani was already radicalised and believed in jihad (holy war), Suhaib had a crucial role in inclining him towards the IS. It was then that he met his present handler, Aamir (suspected to be Shafi Armar), over the internet and this group came about.”
About Yazdani’s alleged attempts to go to Syria, the officer said, “He had applied for visa to Greece twice after he returned from Saudi Arabia in July 2015. He felt going directly to Turkey could arouse suspicion. However, he failed to get visa (to Syria). An electronics engineer, he then applied for a postgraduate course in Turkey and got a positive response, but got arrested before he could get a visa.”
The sources said when Ibrahim returned from Saudi Arabia, he registered himself on Amazon.in as a seller of mobile accessories. His associate Fahad later used the e-tailing platform to order an air pistol and pellets, which did not arrive before the group’s arrest, they said.
“The group had also downloaded an app that helped them pinpoint police stations they wished to target on a Hyderabad map,” an NIA officer said.