Arif Ejaz Majeed, one of the four young men from a Mumbai suburb suspected to have joined ISIS, has been killed in Iraq, the family was told Tuesday.
In his early 20s, Majeed, a civil engineering student, died in an air raid, a relative said. Shaheen Tanki, who left with him to reportedly to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, called up his home and asked elder brother Farzan to inform Majeed’s family about his death.
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“He has sacrificed his life. He is a martyr now,” Shaheen is believed to have said when he called at around 6.30pm Tuesday.
Majeed’s immediate family was too shocked to talk but a relative told HT, “No one knows how he was killed. ISIS has declared him a martyr.”
The family held funeral prayers for the young man on Wednesday afternoon. Kalyan police chief Sanjay Jadhav said they couldn’t confirm Majeed’s death and were investigating the claim.
Majeed, Tanki, Fahad Sheikh and Aman Naeem Tandel went missing on May 24. The four were allegedly part of a group of 42 people from Mumbai and adjoining areas on a pilgrimage to Iraq.
Shaheen didn’t say where Majeed was killed and said he was last seen in Mosul, a northern Iraqi town overrun by the Sunni insurgents who now control large swathes in Iraq and neigbouring Syria.
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Shiite Muslim fighters from the Saraya al-Salam (Peace Brigades), a group formed by Iraqi Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and tasked with defending the holy sites of Shiite Islam against advancing Jihadist militants of the Islamic State. (AFP Photo)
They were together but split up after August 15, said Shaheen who refused to give his location. The other two young men were safe, he said. Shaheen called up his brother again after six hours later to check if Majeed’s family had been informed.
Earlier, intelligence sources told HT that the four men were holed up in northern Syria’s Raqqa province. On Sunday, the fighters of the al Qaeda breakaway seized Tabqa military base after fierce fighting, wresting control of the last government-held site in Raqqa province.
The four men were not in combat and “are doing menial work there”, sources said. They left for Mosul on May 29 after breaking away from the rest of the group. They were looking for jobs and expected to make good money as not many wanted to work in a war zone, sources said.
Weeks after his son disappeared, Majeed’s father had met home minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi and demanded action against those who had radicalised his son and others.
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