World

Indian police conduct raids against ISIS supporters in south

Seven locations in the country's south searched, many being questioned

NEW DELHI: Indian anti-terrorism officers conducted raids against supporters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria(ISIS) in seven locations in the country's south on Wednesday and were questioning several alleged backers of the jihadist organisation, police said.

The searches in the city of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, came after the arrest in April of an Indian national who allegedly followed Zahran Hashim, the mastermind of the April 21 bombings in Sri Lanka that killed 253 people.

India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) said in a statement that the "prime accused" in the Coimbatore case is Mohammed Azarudeen, 32, who "has been a Facebook friend" of Hashim.

It named five others who, it alleged, were also "propagating the ideology of proscribed terrorist organisation ISIS/Daesh on social media with the intention of recruiting vulnerable youth... for carrying out terrorist attacks in South India especially in Kerala and Tamil Nadu".

ISIS, also known as Daesh, has carried out bombings, shootings and other atrocities around the world.

India has been concerned about Islamist extremists on its soil for some time and the Sri Lanka bombings left the authorities alarmed that the Hindu-majority country might be at risk of an attack by jihadists.

Hashim was a Sri Lankan Muslim preacher who led the coordinated Easter Sunday suicide attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.

It was one of the world's deadliest recent terrorist incidents.

Sri Lankan authorities blamed a local jihadist group but ISIS claimed responsibility. - AFP

WORLD