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Goa is Islamic State India's No. 1 target; group capable of high-impact strike: Intel

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 6:03 IST

Goa is the top priority target for the Islamic State in India, say enforcement agencies after interrogating Muddabbir Mushtaq Sheikh of Mumbra, Thane, who goes by the title Amir-e-Hind and was arrested on suspicion of being part of the terrorist organisation.

The IS hopes to attack foreign tourists in Goa so that it gets international publicity, and also to boost the morale of its supporters in the Indian sub-continent.

The terror group is also seeking a place in India to train its local force, said government sources.

Local IS members had planned to bomb Goa in December 2014, but were foiled by intelligence agencies, says the Hindustan Times.

Since January, enforcement agencies in India have arrested 23 young men suspected to be members of IS from several states, beginning with five men in Roorkee who planned to bomb Haridwar.

One of these 23 men is a recruiter, and another is responsible for the December 2014 Church Street blast in Bengaluru. Unconfirmed reports say 30 Indians are fighting for the IS in Syria and Iraq of whom six have been killed.

Intelligence agencies believe the IS plans to strike India as soon as it can, given that the terror group is losing ground in Iraq and Syria and it is being beaten back by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban has killed several IS fighters in Nangarhar province that borders Pakistan.

"The Indian recruits of Islamic State have learnt the art of bomb-making through the internet but they have not been successful in procuring explosives like RDX or ammonium nitrate," said a senior government official. "Their current capabilities and numbers reveal the terror group can execute a limited strike that gives them high publicity."

First published: 26 March 2016, 7:23 IST