Decoded messages of a terror suspect in custody with alleged links to Islamic State and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) indicate there could be more than 10,000 IS members in India, a senior counter-terrorism official told BenarNews.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is investigating the involvement of Indian citizen Mohammad Mosihuddin (alias Abu Musa), 25, in connection with a terrorist siege that killed 20 hostages at a café in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on July 1 and 2, 2016. Mosihuddin, a native of West Bengal state, was arrested on July 4.
“On a regular basis, Musa used to send messages on an instant messaging application called Telegram to two of his handlers – Abu Suleiman, who is believed to have masterminded the Holey Artisan Bakery attack, and Shafi Armar, IS’s chief recruiter for India. In a couple of such messages, Musa informs Suleiman and Armar that the number of IS members in India would be more than10,000,” a top NIA official revealed on condition of anonymity.
The veracity of this claim was being verified, he added.
Mosihuddin’s alleged revelations that IS, along with JMB, was plotting attacks on U.S. citizens in India prompted the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to send a seven-member team to Kolkata to interrogate him in early December.
The NIA has also sought help from the FBI to decode messages from 34 mobile phones recovered from Mosihuddin, the official said. He has been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for waging war against India.
Mosihuddin had made recreational trips to several locations frequented by foreign tourists to plan stabbing attacks similar to the Dhaka café assault, the NIA said.
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