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IS recruit mentions Indian woman in Mosul: NIA

In a first-ever confirmation of an Indian woman’s presence in the Islamic State(IS)-held territory in Iraq and Syria, a Tamil Nadu resident, who fought for the terrorist outfit in Mosul, has told interrogators that he met a couple from Maharashtra during his five-month stay there.

The accused identified as Subahani Haja Moideen (31) was arrested on October 6 by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) when he was trying to arrange explosives from Sivakasi. The NIA chanced upon him while investigating another case where six men from Kerala, inspired by the IS, were allegedly planning attacks against BJP/RSS leaders and High Court judges.

Moideen reportedly told interrogators that he was not sure whether the ‘couple’ were fighting for the IS.

“He told us that he met the Maharashtra-based couple in Iraq and they were the only Indians he came across in the war zone. He said he met them briefly in a public place,” said a senior NIA official.

The official said that till now there has been no known case of an Indian woman in IS-held territory. In July this year, 21 people from Kerala, including three women and six children, travelled to Afghanistan to join the Wilayat Khorasan of the IS. The women travelled with their husbands.

The official said investigating agencies are trying to look into the records of missing people from Maharashtra to determine if the woman went from India or travelled via a third country, to escape detention.

Moideen had allegedly told interrogators there were hardly two to three Indians in the war zone and India was not the immediate target of IS leaders.

Returns from carnage

“He was a low ranking cadre but says that whatever information he gathered did not suggest that the IS leaders had any plans for India. They were more interested in targeting western countries,” said an NIA official. Moideen left India in April 2015 but came back in September 2015 after telling the Indian authorities in Turkey that he had lost his passport. Till he was arrested, the authorities here did not know that he fought for the IS in Mosul. He told interrogators that he decided to return as he could not withstand the violence and war misery in Mosul, after he saw two of his friends getting charred during shelling.

More than 60 Indians have been arrested in the past two years for IS links and 25 Indians have already travelled to Syria to fight alongside the IS.


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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 5:51:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/IS-recruit-mentions-Indian-woman-in-Mosul-NIA/article16445204.ece

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