Crackdown on ISIS: Multiple raids linked to Mangaluru, Coimbatore blasts
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday raided the residences and other properties of several people linked to the terrorist organization ISIS in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. The country's premier anti-terror probe agency, along with paramilitary personnel, searched 60 locations in the states suspected of having links to last year's Mangaluru and Coimbatore blasts.
Why does this story matter?
- Probe agencies have reportedly found ISIS links in both the Coimbatore and Mangaluru blast incidents.
- Notably, in August 2022, an ISIS suicide bomber was apprehended in Russia, allegedly plotting attacks against Indian leaders.
- The same month, the NIA detained an engineering student from Delhi's Batla House on suspicion of being an active ISIS member.
- ISIS is both a terrorist organization and a defunct quasi-state.
Raids conducted across Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu
According to reports, raids began early Wednesday morning in at least 60 locations throughout Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. The NIA allegedly seized digital gadgets and damning papers from the suspects' homes. Notably, the investigation agency conducted similar raids a month ago at 43 places in Tamil Nadu in connection with the October 23, 2022, Coimbatore blast.
Visuals of raids in Tamil Nadu
What do we know about the Coimbatore blast?
On October 23, a cylinder exploded inside a car near Coimbatore's Kottal Eswaran Temple, killing the driver, 25-year-old Jamesha Mubin—the main suspect in the case. The police initially thought the explosion was an accident, but it turned out to be a massive "terrorist act." The investigation was taken over by the NIA following the recovery of "objectionable material" at the deceased's home.
A little about Mangaluru blast
A similar explosion occurred in Mangaluru on November 19, 2022, injuring two people. Police later discovered that one of the injured, Mohammad Shareeq, a resident of Shivamogga, Karnataka, allegedly traveled in an autorickshaw with an improvised explosive device (IED) in a pressure cooker. The NIA took over the investigation after they allegedly found that Shareeq may have links with ISIS.
A common link between Mangaluru and Coimbatore blasts
Meanwhile, the blast in Mangaluru and the Coimbatore car explosion reportedly share a common link, police claimed per The Indian Express. They claimed that both the Coimbatore explosion suspect—Mubin—and the Mangaluru blast suspect—Shareeq—were in Kerala in September 2022. When Mubin was allegedly in Kerala for medical treatment, Shareeq also visited the state around the same time.
Kerala's '[SIMI]lar' terror trail
To recall, in 2006 and 2007, the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) allegedly organized clandestine camps in Kerala, particularly in Binanipuram, Aluva. Later, it was allegedly revealed by security officials that these two camps had been used as a planning location for a number of covert operations, bombings, and discussions on the formation of the now-defunct Indian Mujahideen.