One of the first Indians to join the Islamic State, Fahad Tanvir Sheikh one in a four-member cell of students from Maharashtra’s Thane has been killed fighting near Raqqa last week. His family was informed about his demise by an anonymous caller, Indian Express reported. Sheikh was the only surviving member of the cell following the arrest of Areeb Majeed, and the killing of Sahim Tanki, and Aman Naim Tandel. Dr Tanvir Sheikh, father of Fahad said, ” Late Tuesday, my wife received a call from a foreign number from someone who told us our son had been killed.” His father further added that his wife did not note down the details the caller offered about his death.
Given the anarchic conditions, there is no means available to verify Sheikh’s death. Fahad Sheikh had left for Iraq in May 2014, as part of a pilgrimage group, travelling with Majeed, Tanki and Tandel. The four men then drove from Baghdad to Mosul, before disappearing into Islamic State-held territory. Sheikh had misled his family into believing that he was taking up a job in Mumbai’s Bandra, according to family members.
It is still not known as to what motivated Fahad Sheikh or who financed his trip to Iraq. India’s intelligence services say they have no word on several Indian Mujahideen jihadists suspected of having been in Syria, including Shahnawaz Ahmad, a Unani doctor and the son of a Samajwadi Party politician in Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh. A key recruiter of Indian jihadist for the IS, Karnataka Muhammad Shafi Armar is also missing.