Terrorist group Islamic State has sent its foot soldiers to Bangladesh as well as to Indonesia and Malaysia in Asia, The New York Times said in a report yesterday.
The report was based on over 100,000 pages of French, Belgian, Austrian and German investigative documents after the November 2015 Paris attack by the IS.
As part of the report, Rukmini Callimachi, reporter of the Times, conducted a jailhouse interview with a former IS militant from Germany, named Harry Sarfo.
Sarfo described what he had been told by the IS’s external operations branch about the group’s design to build an infrastructure in Bangladesh.
For Asian recruits, the group was looking specifically for militants who had emerged from Al Qaeda’s network in the region, Sarfo said to the Times.
“People especially from Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia — they have people who used to work for Al Qaeda, and once they joined the Islamic State, they are asking them questions about their experiences and if they have contacts,” he said to the American daily newspaper.
The revelation comes on the back of IS’s claim last month of having “covert units” in Bangladesh, as well as in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Lebanon, Algeria, Tunisia and France.
A Bangladeshi-Canadian named Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, who identifies himself as Shaykh Abu Ibrahim Al-Hanif, has been appointed as the leader of the IS’s operations in Bangladesh, said issue 14 of Dabiq, the Salafi jihadist militant group’s online magazine.
In 2016, local members of the terrorist outfit carried out 11 operations in Bangladesh that claimed 37 lives, according to an infographic from the IS.
One of the operations was the July 1 attack by five gunmen on an upscale restaurant in the capital’s diplomatic zone that left 22 dead, 17 of whom were foreigners.
Last week, during a special drive by the joint forces in Dhaka’s Kalyanpur neighbourhood, nine militants who pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the IS, were killed.
Believing he was answering a holy call, Sarfo left his home in a working-class German city last year and drove for four straight days to reach the territory controlled by the IS in Syria, reported the Times.
He barely had time to settle in before members of the IS’s secret service, wearing masks over their faces, came to inform him and his German friend that they no longer wanted Europeans to come to Syria, the report said.
Where they were really needed was back home, to help carry out the group’s plan of waging terrorism across the globe.
Sarfo’s account, along with those of other captured recruits, has further pulled back the curtain on the group’s machinery for projecting violence beyond its borders, the Times said.
What they describe is a multilevel secret service under the overall command of the IS’s most senior Syrian operative, spokesman and propaganda chief, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the report said.
Below him is a tier of lieutenants empowered to plan attacks in different regions of the world, including a “secret service for European affairs,” a “secret service for Asian affairs” and a “secret service for Arab affairs”, according to Sarfo.
Source: The Daily Star