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A Kerala-based man who joined IS, becomes a ‘martyr’?

Kozhikode: As per the media report, a Christian Engineer from Kerala, who had recently converted to Islam to join Islamic State’s (IS), has been killed in a suicide bombing terror attack in Libya.

According to the reports, the intelligence officials have gathered information that the name of the Keralite had appeared in an IS document titled ‘Know your martyrs’, in which he was referred to as “Abu Bakr Al-Hind”. In the document, IS has claimed that the Kerala-based engineer is the first ‘Istishhadi’ or suicide bomber or ‘martyr’, from India to be killed on the African continent.

Unlike in the case of other Kerala-based IS terrorist who was killed in Syria and Afghanistan, the IS document did not mention Abu Bakr’s real name. The intelligence agencies also have no clue about his other whereabouts either, except that the person was born in a rich Christian family ‘where there are many engineers.’

According to the IS document, Abu Bakr was working in Bengaluru before moving to the Gulf. “That was the first time he was in a complete Muslim environment.” The Kerala-based IS terrorist was introduced to Islam through a pamphlet handed over to him while he was shopping at a market. “He was shocked to know that Muslims believe in Jesus and respected him,” said the IS document adding that Islamic terrorists wanted to know more about Islam. Abu Bakr watched the speeches of another Islamic terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki, which radicalized him and led him to the IS. Abu Bakr wished to do hijra (migration) like other Kerala Muslims who had joined the IS, but he had to return to India as his company’s contract in the Gulf had expired.

Later, the IS handlers asked him to go to Libya, where its activity was going strong. “As he was an engineer and his passport had a Christian name, he flew easily to Libya,” said the document. Abu Bakr was killed in a terror operation three months after reaching Libya.

The security agencies are on their way to identifying the person and are also preparing a timeline of events. Earlier, security experts warned that the IS might shift its operations to Africa after losing its strongholds in Syria and Afghanistan. Many Muslims from Kerala, which has become the hub of Islamic terrorism, had joined the IS and traveled to Syria and Afghanistan, but a case of traveling to Libya is the first known case.

In 2014, IS had declared the formation of Wilayat (province) in Libya, and many foreign fighters had been dispatched to the country. The Islamic State had claimed that its cadre from Kerala had taken part in many ‘Istishhadi’ operations in Afghanistan, including the attack on Gurudwara in Kabul and prison in Jalalabad last year.

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