Areeb Majeed, the Islamic State (IS) fighter, who was brought back to India from Turkey on November 28 by intelligence officials and is now in judicial custody, was released on ‘formal leave’ and was dropped off by four IS personnel in Istanbul with $2,000 cash, said National Intelligence Agency (NIA) sources.
Their assessment is that Majeed, an engineer from Kalyan, near Mumbai, is a hardcore jihadist who wanted to come to India during his ‘leave’ to marry his girlfriend and recruit youth for IS.
Majeed’s father requested the government to help evacuate his son after the youth called him from Turkey, saying he wanted to come home. Majeed spent nearly six months fighting for the IS in Iraq and Syria.
Majeed has told his interrogators that he participated in the August battle to capture Mosul dam in northern Iraq under the leadership of Georgian mercenary Abu Omar al-Shishani — a former sergeant with the Georgian army and a veteran of the second Chechen war.
Majeed told his interrogators that he also participated in the battles for the Baiji refinery and Tal Afar, a city in northwestern Iraq. He named an ex-Syrian Army officer Abu Anas and Abu Mariam of Tal Afar as his IS controllers and said Egyptian Abu Hatf al-Masari was the administrative controller of IS, said the sources.
The sources said that Majeed had confirmed that at least four Indian-origin British nationals were fighting with IS in Iraq and said he has no knowledge of the 39 Indian labourers said to be held hostage by the IS in Mosul since June.
Majeed confirmed that three other youth from Kalyan are fighting with the IS but denies seeing any other Indian national with the group. He is in judicial custody till December 31.