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NIA conducts raids in Kerala over suspected links to ISIS terrorists involved in Sri Lanka bombings

Houses of four people inspected in Kasargod, Palakkad

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday searched the houses of at least four people in north Kerala as part of the international probe into the Easter Day suicide bombings in Sri Lanka.

According to the State police, the NIA appeared to have inspected private residences in Kasargod and Palakkad after evidence emerged that the targets of their probe had avidly followed on social media Zahran Hashim, the architect of the attacks that claimed hundreds of lives.

Officials said law enforcement agencies across the world, including the NIA and the FBI, had been digging up the digital trail left behind by Hashim on social media, which he zealously used to recruit persons to his global jihadist cause.

No one booked

According to officials, the NIA had not booked anyone, possibly due to lack of proof of complicity in the attacks.

The NIA’s investigations into the alleged affiliates of the now notorious National Towheeth Jamaat (NTJ), a construct of Hashim to unleash terror in mainland India, were still at a nascent stage, the officials said.

However, it did not stop NIA agents from swooping down on the houses of the potential suspects at Kaliyangad and Nayanmarmoola in Kasargod and Adavumaram and Muthalamada in Palakkad. Officials said the agency summoned the suspects to their office in Kochi for further questioning. It was not immediately known whether the agency had made any seizures.

According to officials, the NIA appeared to be investigating whether there was any correlation between the attacks in Sri Lanka and radical activity in mainland India.

They said coastal States in South India, including Kerala, were not immune from upheavals in the island nation, given the sizeable Tamil population whose security concerns often dovetail with their counterparts in Sri Lanka.

The NIA also appeared to have factored in reports that Hashim, the terror mastermind, had travelled widely in India. Hence, his itinerary, contacts and places of stay were currently subjects of interest for the agency.

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