Dhaka cafe gunmen followed ‘IS recruiters’, controversial preachers

Two of the five young militants who slaughtered 20 innocent people at the Holey Artisan Bakery in the Bangladeshi capital used to follow three controversial Islamists -- Anjem Choudary, Shami Witness and Zakir Naik.
Bangladeshi security personnel stand guard after a small bomb exploded outside Bangladesh capital's main Shia religious site in Dhaka.(AFP)
Bangladeshi security personnel stand guard after a small bomb exploded outside Bangladesh capital's main Shia religious site in Dhaka.(AFP)
Updated on Jul 05, 2016 08:53 AM IST
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IANS | By, Dhaka

Two of the five young militants who slaughtered 20 innocent people at the Holey Artisan Bakery in the Bangladeshi capital used to follow three controversial Islamists -- Anjem Choudary, Shami Witness and Zakir Naik.

Nibras Islam, 22, used to follow two alleged suspected recruiters of Islamic State -- Anjem Choudary and Shami Witness -- on Twitter in 2014, reported The Daily Star.

Read more: Heartbreak, selfies and soccer: The life of a Bangladesh cafe killer

Another young militant Rohan Imtiaz, son of an Awami League leader, propagated on Facebook last year quoting Peace TV’s controversial preacher Zakir Naik “urging all Muslims to be terrorists”.

A Pakistan-origin British citizen, 49-year-old Anjem is now facing trial in England for breaking the British anti-terrorism law.

Shami Witness is the Twitter name of 24-year-old Mehdi Masroor Biswas of Bengaluru in India, who is also facing trial for running propaganda for the Islamic State.

Biswas was arrested in December 2014 following an investigation into his Twitter account which was last active in August 2014.

Anjem’s twitter account became inactive from August 2015 after terror charges were brought against him.

Naik, a controversial preacher from India, is banned in the UK, Canada and Malaysia. He is widely popular in Bangladesh through his Peace TV, although his preaching often demeans other religions including other Muslim sects.

The Daily Star said this indicates that Nibras and Rohan did not become radicalised overnight. They have been consuming radical materials for one to two years before finally disappearing in February-March and reappearing as “killers” on Friday night’s carnage at the Holey Artisan Bakery.

From their pictures posted by the Islamic State media and recirculated by the Search for International Terrorist Entities (SITE) Intelligence Group, it can be assumed that these young men received arms training after their disappearance, specifically to carry out the killing mission on July 1, reported Daily Star.

Their attire with Islamic State logo in the backdrop, the automatic rifles held in their hands, reveal they underwent an organised training which is far from anything amateurish.

The killers released some of the hostages 15 minutes before the army-led operation codenamed ‘Operation Thundebolt’ on Saturday morning also showed the depth of their indoctrination -- that they were ready to die.

The killers had uploaded grisly pictures of their horrendous deeds at the Holey Artisan Bakery by midnight Friday -- which was re-uploaded by the Islamic State media.

These pictures widely circulated on the internet also reveal the mind set of the killers. All the women victims were blurred in the pictures. Militants say it is a sin to show pictures of women, who they do not mind killing or raping.

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