Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, alternatively translated as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, is a Salafi jihadist militant group that follows an Islamic fundamentalist. The group fighting a war in distant Syria is headed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
So far National Investigation Agency (NIA) along with states’ Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has detained or arrested over 30 Indians including a few who were deported from the UAE. They were mostly picked up on the basis of their “illegal” activities in cyberspace.
The broad-brush briefs come from intelligence sources — the NIA, Research & Analysis Wing (R&W), National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), Intelligence Bureau and ATS:
December 2014: Mehdi Masroor Biswas was arrested from his house in Jalahalli, Bangalore, following a report by UK’s Channel 4, which revealed that the man operating with @ShamiWitness twitter handle, who claimed to be a Libyan, was actually “an executive in Bangalore working for an Indian conglomerate.” He was booked under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly advocating terrorism.
January 2015: Nine persons from Bengaluru were deported by Turkish authorities from Istanbul after they were caught trying to cross over to Syria to join the IS.
September 2015: Afsha Jabeen alias Nicky alias Nicole Joseph was arrested in Hyderabad after she was deported from Dubai for being an alleged ISIS recruiter. Jabeen, 38, was even successful in motivating around a dozen youth from India to join the ISIS, the Hyderabad police said. She allegedly provoked them with stories on how Islam was under threat all over the world and how they could together stand for it.
January 2016: Noor Mohammad Shaikh, 32, attempted suicide after drinking rat poison, accusing the Maharashtra Police and ATS of torturing him in custody was admitted to KEM Hospital Mumbai where he underwent treatment for several days.
He and Wajid Shaikh were in the ATS custody after they left their homes in suburban Malvani allegedly to join ISIS. They were close to Mohsin Abrahim Sayeed, who was arrested by the Delhi police earlier this month. All three had left their homes in December allegedly to join ISIS in Iraq.
January 22: Aleem Ahmad from Indira Nagar in Lucknow and Rizwan Ahmad from Kushinagar on the Indo-Nepal border were arrested for being IS operatives. They were allegedly planning blasts at Haridwar’s Ardh Kumbh.
Zafar Masood alias Guddu from Sambhal in western UP was arrested funding al-Qaeda’s Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) operatives for crossing to Pakistan.Masood was possessing four passports.