Social media accounts linked to known supporters of the Islamic State (IS) have reported that a 55-year-old jihadist from Mumbai has been killed in action at Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria. One of the Twitter accounts that reported the death is believed to be run by Fahad Shaikh, one of three youth from Thane who travelled to Iraq in May 2014 year to join the IS ranks.
“A 55 year old mujahid from Mumbai killed in Wilayat al khair, syria. May ALLAH accept him.#Indianmujahideen,” the Twitter account @helium61 — believed to be operated by Fahad Shaikh — tweeted on Wednesday night.
The Deir ez-Zor governorate has been renamed Wilayat al Khair — State of the Good — by the IS. Last Saturday, the US Defence Department announced that US Special Forces had conducted a military operation in Deir ez-Zor and had killed Abu Sayyaf, a senior IS leader, and had taken his wife captive.
Fahad was earlier believed to be operating the account @magnetgas which was suspended on 21 occasions, only to resurface with a serial number suffixed to ‘@magnetgas’. He later shifted briefly to the handles @pneumatic11 and @tungsten9, which were also suspended.
Thane youth Areeb Majeed, against whom the NIA filed a chargesheet Wednesday, has also claimed that Fahad operated the suspended Twitter handle @magnetgas. The account was created in India and later operated by him in Iraq. It was primarily used to follow IS activities, particularly Indian jihadis.
Last month, IS-linked Twitter accounts had claimed that an Indian identified as Abdul Rahman had died fighting for the jihadi group in its stronghold of Raqqa in Syria. They claimed that he was the third Indian to die fighting for the group, and posted a photograph, purportedly of Rahman standing alone on a rocky hillside.