Kerala cops arrest three men with suspected IS links

Kerala cops arrest three men with suspected IS links

 The police in Kannur arrested three men with suspected links to the Islamic State on Wednesday.

Official sources said the suspects, identified as Rasheed, Razzaq and Mithilaj, were stationed in Turkey and were trying to enter Syria when they were intercepted by Turkish authorities and deported to India.

All three are natives of Chakkarakkal in Kannur. The Valapattanam police recorded their arrest in the evening.

P P Sadanandan, Kannur deputy superintendent of police, said the arrested men had lived in Istanbul for four months.

In October 2016, the National Investigation Agency had arrested six men involved in the Omar Al-Hindi IS module from Kannur.

The NIA case pertains to a group of men from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, who entered into a criminal conspiracy to wage a war against India.

According to the NIA charge sheets, their plan was to collect explosives to target "prominent persons and places of public importance" in south India.

Police sources said that even after the arrests, "claims" had surfaced in jihadi propaganda groups on social media that another unit was actively pursuing the plan.

"There are reports suggesting that these incidents cannot be viewed solely as cases of people migrating and joining terror outfits. People who obtain jihadi training and return to India under various circumstances have to be treated as a potential threat," Sadanandan told DH.

NIA gets custody

On Wednesday, the NIA secured five days' police custody of suspected IS operative Shahjahan Velluvakandy (32), a native of Kannur.

Velluvakandy was arrested on July 1 at the Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi after being deported by Turkish authorities.

"He is an ISIS operative, who had gone to Turkey/Syria for carrying out terrorist activities after procuring an Indian passport (under a fake name)," the NIA said in a statement.

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