The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken into custody a man from Mannarkkad in Palakkad district working for the terrorist organization Islamic State (ISIS) in Kerala. Zaheer Turki was arrested. NIA took Turki into custody at his house and recovered digital evidence that proved his involvement in terrorist activities.
Turki is an accomplice of Seyid Nabeel Ahammed, who was arrested in the Thrissur ISIS case. Ahammed is the Ameer (leader) of the terrorist group ISIS module based out of Thrissur district in Kerala. Earlier this month, Ahammed was arrested in Chennai while trying to escape to Nepal.
In late July, NIA Fugitive Tracking Team conducted an intelligence-led joint operation with the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the Kerala Police at three locations in Thrissur and one in Palakkad districts of Kerala to bust the ISIS module. Shiyas TS of Thrissur and Rayees of Palakkad were also apprehended. These terror suspects had been conducting reconnaissance missions and conspiring to commit terrorist attacks.
The raids followed the arrest of a suspect, Mathilakath Kodayil Ashraf alias Ashif, from his hideout near Sathyamangalam forest in neighboring Tamil Nadu. Ashif is a native of Thrissur district. Ahammed immediately went into hiding. This was when the NIA found out that a group, including Keralite Islamists, had tried to form an ISIS group in Kerala on the model of the Taliban.
It was Turki who helped Ahammed go into hiding. NIA also found that Turki arranged fake SIM cards and money for Ahammed. Turki booked a room in a lodge near Avanur in Thrissur in his name for a month. But, the NIA found CCTV footage that proved Ahammed stayed there. Documents from the motel were also seized.
Turki is being interrogated at the NIA headquarters in Kochi. NIA found he also paid for Ahammed’s stay in hiding in Tamil Nadu. The NIA is trying to find out from him how deep the ISIS group has penetrated Kerala.
Earlier, important information was obtained from the statement of Ahammed. Ahammed, working in Qatar, and his friend Ashif prepared a plan to establish an ISIS group in Kerala. They found contacts with ISIS terrorists through other Afghan and Syrian extremists in Qatar.
A Telegram group called ‘Pet Lovers’ was created to attract youth to the organization in Kerala. The terror suspects planned to loot important Hindu temples in Thrissur and Palakkad districts to raise funds for ISIS activities. Incidentally, the Avanur Lodge, where Ahammed went into hiding, is just 20 km from Guruvayur Temple. This temple is one of the richest in Kerala.
Janmabhumi reported that the NIA also stated they had information about a plan to kill a Christian priest. Evidence for the same was recovered from the mobile devices of the terror suspects. NIA also found that Ahammed planned and executed this evil plan after he returned to Kerala.