SUBAHANI HAJA Moideen, a suspected Islamic State (IS) recruit in NIA custody, who told sleuths that he knew at least two of the November 2015 Paris attackers, has revealed that he knew another Paris attacker, a Pakistani national who was arrested from Austria in July. The latter was in Moideen’s camp in Iraq when he was fighting alongside the IS, he reportedly said.
Moideen, a resident of Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, had spent a few months in Mosul after leaving India in April last year. He has told the NIA that a 35-year-old Pakistani national, identified as Abu Usman, was with him in the same camp that was housing around 150 fighters. When he was shown photographs of the Paris attackers and their associates, Moideen identified the picture of Mohammed Usman as that of Abu Usman, sources in the NIA said.
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Usman is alleged to have assisted two of the attackers, who blew themselves up near Stade de France Stadium in one of a series of assaults by around 10 people around the French capital that left over a hundred dead. Moideen has also identified a man known as Abu Suleiman al-Francisi as the one who headed his group and was involved in the Paris attacks. He said that a man, later identified as Umar Ismail Mustefai, used to meet Suleiman. Mustefai was one of the attackers in the Bataclan Theatre massacre.
Moideen reportedly said during interrogation that when he was in Mosul, there were three groups of 150-odd fighters each living nearby. His group was called Umar Ibn-u-khatab Khatiba and consisted mainly of Tajiks, Algerians, Lebanese and South East Asians. Another group he came to know of was called Gurba Khatiba, comprising largely Tajiks and Arabs. The third group, Ibn-u-ziyad Khatiba, had Arab and English-speaking members, added Moideen. The three groups lived in three separate houses and had a busy routine that included praying five times a day, going to the gym and training.