Days ahead of Barack Obama’s visit to India, one of the youths from Thane who went to Iraq to join the Islamic State (IS) has reportedly called for a car bomb attack targeting the US President.
Late on Monday night, a tweet from a pro-IS Twitter handle stated, “Heard that enemy of Allah, Obama is coming to India soon. And Indian Muslims are good in chemicals, so a chemical car bomb will be a good idea.”
NIA sources confirmed to The Indian Express that the agency suspects the Twitter handle is being operated by one of the youths from Thane who went to Iraq.
“A close watch is being kept on the Twitter handle as it is believed to be operated by one of the youths from Thane who joined the IS. The latest tweet on the Obama visit has been taken note of and appropriate action will be taken. The US authorities will be approached for details of the handle under an emergency disclosure request,” said a source.
When contacted, Delhi Police Commissioner D S Bassi said, “All necessary precautions are being taken ahead of the US President’s visit.”
Four youths — civil engineering student Areeb Majeed, Saheem Tanki, Amaan Tandel and Fahad Shaikh — left their homes in Thane and went to Iraq to join the IS last year. Majeed returned to India nearly two months ago, after reportedly sustaining combat injuries near Mosul, and is now in the NIA’s custody. He was earlier reported to have been killed in fighting.
On Saturday night, images surfaced online purporting to show Tanki shortly before he reportedly launched a “suicide bombing” in the northeastern Syrian city of al-Hasaka earlier this month. The images were released on multiple platforms linked to the IS.
Tanki’s family members had told the NIA earlier this month that they had received a phone call from an unknown Iraqi number informing them of his death. The family has not communicated with Tanki for over two months, police sources said. NIA sources, however, said they had not yet arrived at any conclusions about Tanki’s whereabouts or status.