Intelligence agencies have prima facie identified one of the Islamic State members who attacked a prison in Afghanistan’s Jalalabad as Ejas Kettiyapurayil, hailing from Kasaragod in Kerala.
Sources said family circles had identified Ejas from the photographs shown to them. However, no official confirmation could be made at this stage, sources said.
Ejas, a doctor by profession, joined Islamic State in 2016 along with his wife Rahaila, then three months pregnant, and their two-year-old child. Also, his brother Shihaz, a management graduate, joined the IS along with his wife Ajmala, a physiotherapist.
Sources said they were part of the Kasaragod module of Islamic State which had moved to Nangarhar province of Afghanistan in 2016 after having gone missing from Kasaragod in May-June that year. “Ejas was in touch with the family even after reaching Afghanistan. They had shared the news about the birth of two babies of Ejas and Shihaz,” a source said.
Their father Abdul Rahman, a Gulf returnee, could not be reached.
A close relative said, “They (the family) had considered the two sons as lost forever. Earlier, there had been rumours that the youths died in Afghanistan. We are not keen on the issue as we thought them to be dead much earlier,’’ he said.
Militants affiliated with the Islamic State group stormed a prison in eastern Afghanistan in a daylong siege that left at least 39 people dead, including the assailants, and freed nearly 400 of their fighters before security forces restored order, a government official said Monday. It is unclear if Ejas was among those killed.
The Islamic State presence in Kerala had come to the fore with the disappearance of youths mainly from Kasaragod in 2016. The NIA had then identified Abdul Rashid, an engineer and education activist, as the leader of this IS module. -With AP inputs