One of the 20 men from Kerala who joined the Islamic State (IS) in recent months has been killed in an airstrike in Afghanistan, the man’s family said citing a message received from the group.
Hafeesudeen T K (24), a native of Padna in Kasargod, left his new bride behind and moved to what he called the ‘Caliphate’.
The message that came on Saturday via the Telegram app said, “Hafees was killed by a drone strike yesterday. We can consider him a Shuhada (martyr) and Allah knows the best.”
“Other members also are getting ready to become martyrs.” the message added. It also said that Hafees’s body has been buried.
The message was reportedly sent by Ashfaq, one of the ‘missing’ 21, who had left India in June 2016 to Nangarhar province in Afghanistan, which is under the control of Islamic State.
Meanwhile, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is already probing the ISIS nexus in Kasaragod, has been informed of this development.
At least four out the 21 individuals, who belong to Christian and Hindu families, had converted to Islam over a year ago, reports state.
Two of the individuals had reportedly sent text and voice messages to their families confirming that they have moved to a remote location.
Earlier, the NIA had arrested two people in connection with the criminal conspiracy hatched within and outside India, with the intention of furthering the objectives of the Islamic State(IS) and for joining and supporting the organization.
Accused Abdul Rashid Abdulla, resident of Kasaragod district and Yasmeen Mohammad Zahid, resident of Sitamarhi district, Bihar were booked under under sections 120-B and 125 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), besides sections 38, 39 and 40 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967.
The NIA probe established that accused Abdul Rashid was the main conspirator behind the offence of motivating youth, hailing from Kasaragod district to exit from India along with their families, to join the terrorist organisation.
According to officials, Rashid had conducted classes at Kasaragod and other places in support of the terrorist organization and its ideology of violent jihad. He motivated another set of 14 co-conspirators, including another arrested accused Yasmeen Mohammed Zahid, to join the proscribed organization and plan for Hijrah to the Caliphate announced by the ISIS.
The investigation revealed that the conspiracy had been in operation since the month of July, 2015.
Indian intelligence and diplomatic sources in Kabul said Nangarhar had seen intense fighting between Afghan forces and the Islamic State and recent weeks, but that they had no confirmation of whether Hafesudheen was among the dead. “Things are very chaotic on the ground”, one intelligence official said. “There’s simply no way of verifying the identities of individual dead”.
Nangarhar Governor Gulab Mangal said last week that the country’s army had killed at least 34 Islamic State insurgents in air and ground attacks carried out in Nangarhar’s Dih Bala district. The slain, Mangal said, “included several foreigners” Another 17 Afghan soldiers were killed in Islamic State strikes on military check-points.