AQIS plans retaliation, ISIS has about 200 members in Kerala, K’taka: UN report

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BY SUMIT KUMAR SINGH
New Delhi, July 24 (IANS)
Al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) is planning retaliation operations and an Indian ISIS affiliate — Hind Wilayah — has 180 and 200 members present in Kerala and Karnataka, as per the United Nations Security Council.
The revelation was made in the 26th report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team which was released on Thursday.
The report stated that “ISIS Indian affiliate — Hind Wilayah — which was announced on May 10, 2019, has between 180 and 200 members.” According to the report, there are significant numbers of ISIS operatives in Kerala and Karnataka.
The report also states that AQIS is planning retaliation operations in the region to avenge the death of its former leader Asim Umar.
About AQIS, the reports point out that the terror outfit operates under the Taliban umbrella from Nimruz, Helmand and Kandahar Provinces. It reportedly has between 150 and 200 members from Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Pakistan.
“The current leader of AQIS is Osama Mahmood, who succeeded the late Asim Umar. AQIS is planning retaliation operations in the region to avenge the death of its former leader,” the report stated.

Active on Social media

ISIS and al-Qaida remain active on social media, using platforms and messaging applications to share information and communicate with followers for the purposes of recruitment, planning and fundraising, the report stated.
Although the Europol operation in November 2019 to remove extremist content from Telegram appears to have had some impact on the ability of IS to disseminate its message, the group has found ways to mitigate the clampdown.
To achieve a wide dispersal of video and audio messages in April and May 2020, IS used several smaller platforms and file-sharing services, including Dropbox, Files.fm, Internet Archive, Microsoft OneDrive, Nextcloud, Ok.ru, Rocket.Chat and Vimeo.
For messaging, ISIS and al-Qaida are looking for tenable alternatives to Telegram.
In a May 2020 issue of Ibaa’ magazine, ISIS affiliate Hei’at Tahrir al-Sham had actively urged its followers and other militant groups in the Syrian Arab Republic to move permanently away from Telegram, Facebook Messenger and Viber and instead use other end-to-end encryption applications such as Conversations, Riot, Signal and Wire.

(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at sumit.k@ians.in)

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