Sri Lanka, India targeted as IS shifts strategy away from Middle East: Report

ECONOMYNEXT- The Islamic State (IS) which claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday attack is targeting Indian Ocean countries such as India and Sri Lanka in a new strategy as it suffers losses in Syria and Iraq, a news report said.

India-based NDTV said that it has gained access to three intelligence reports which have been circulated among police officers in the state of Kerala.
 
"After loss of territory in Iraq and Syria, IS is urging operatives to take up violent forms of jihad while staying back in their respective countries," one of the documents was quoted as saying.
 
"There is a growing focus in Indian Ocean region in India as well as Sri Lanka."
 
In India, the IS is focusing on the three southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra and the northern state of Kashmir, the documents were quoted as saying.
 
NDTV quoted a senior Indian police official as saying that at least 100 people are believed to have joined IS from Kerala over the last few years, while 3,000 have been ‘de-radicalized’ at 21 counselling centres across the state and are now being monitored.
 
In Sri Lanka, a number of Muslims are known to have travelled to Syria to join and fight with the IS.
 
Extremist members of the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) and the Jamathei Millathu Ibraheem (JMI), some of whom are believed to have had links with IS carried out the Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Colombo.
 
The attacks on churches and hotels killed over 250 persons and wounded around 500.
 
A number of bombers and affiliates were from wealthy families with Western university education.
 
The IS claimed responsibility for the attack.
 
The Sri Lankan government had admitted that the bombers had spent time abroad, and may have been trained by foreign terrorist organizations.
 
The two organizations are now banned.
 
Sri Lanka on Thursday extended a state of emergency which has been in place since the bombings. (Colombo/Jun20/2019)