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NIA conducts raids in Kerala over Islamic State links, three youths arrested

The arrested persons are also suspected to have links with the Sri Lanka blast mastermind

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested three youths in Kerala in connection with the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka. The arrests were made during a raid on an Islamic State (IS) module in Kasaragod, Kerala.

Abu Bakar Siddiqui and Ahmed Araffath, two of the youths who were arrested, were picked up by the NIA Cochin unit and were being questioned at the NIA headquarters.

According to reports, the three youth were detained after receiving intelligence reports that they in contact with terror leader Zahran Hashim and are said to have been inspired by his ideology. Hashim is suspected to have led the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, and he is the leader of Sri Lanka based terror organisation National Thowheeth Jama’ath, responsible for carrying out the attacks. The youths have also been in contact with ISIS.

The NIA said in a statement, “NIA today carried out searches at three places in Kerala in connection with 2016 ISIS Kasaragod Module case. They are suspected to have links with some of accused in the said case who left India to join terrorist organisation ISIS/ Daish.”

The NIA have raided two houses in Kasaragod and one in Palakkad. Mobile phones, SIM cards, memory cards, pen drives and diaries with handwritten notes in Arabic and Malayalam were retrieved. DVDs, CDs with religious speeches, books authored by Zakir Naik and Syed Kutheb were also found by the officers.

Authorities are trying to gather more information about the bombings in Sri Lanka. India had warned Sri Lanka about probable terror attacks before the Easter bombings, based on information received from raids on ISIS modules in India. Ever since the Sri Lanka attacks, security has been increased in religious places and airports. All southern states have also been under high alert.

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