The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its parent al Qaeda may form alliance with outfits such as Lashkar-e-Toiba, Indian Mujahideen and SIMI to target Indian cities, Director General of National Security Guards (NSG) Jayant Choudhury warned today.
The NSG chief's warnings come a day after the General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the Army's Srinagar based 15 Corps, Lt Gen Subrata Saha warned of a real threat from ISIS rearing its head in the troubled Jammu and Kashmir state.
Speaking on the sidelines of NSG's 30th raising day celebrations, Choudhury said, ''Now that they (al Qaeda) have declared an intention to attack India, they might combine with outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba, ISIS and Indian Mujahideen.''
''If they do have combined operations, we have to prepare for multi-city, multiple terror attacks,'' he said, adding that tourist hubs like Goa, Bangalore and Amritsar are on the terror radar.
''Terrorism has become more grim, what happened in Mumbai on 26/11 was a curtain raiser,'' Choudhury said.
Stressing that the NSG is fully prepared, he said, ''NSG will respond to whatever required, whenever required.''
With local outfits like Indian Mujahideen and SIMI still acting as sleeping cells, intelligence agencies say Qaeda and ISIS may try to rope in these banned organisation to execute its nefarious plans in India, especially during the festival season.
The barbaric outfit of Islamic State, which is extending its power in Syria and Iraq through a merciless acts of beheading, shooting and killing of men and raping and enslaving of women, has become a real threat to humanity and the ISIS flag is a reminder of these.
That flag is now showing up with increasing frequency in India, particularly Kashmir.
The first reported sighting of IS flags and banners was on 27 June and more recently during a rally at the Idgah Maidan in Srinagar during Eid celebrations last week.
Masked men were seen waving IS flags and shouting slogans in the heart of the city, enough to put security agencies on alert.
"Certainly, we are watching and closely monitoring the situation as it were. As per my inputs, there was one incident of the kind that you refer to that of the (IS) flag. We are watching the situation as this is something which merits the highest concern of all security agencies and let me tell you that it is getting the attention of all the security agencies," General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the Army's Srinagar based 15 Corps, Lt Gen Subrata Saha said.
The presence of Islamic State sympathisers is a matter of concern as reports have indicated that IS is recruiting fighters for its ''holy war'' via the internet.
Recently, four young men from Maharashtra had reportedly joined the IS ranks after being indoctrinated online. One of them later lost his life while fighting in Syria.
Also, two men from Tamil Nadu were arrested for allegedly ordering and distributing t-shirts with the Islamic State emblem – a group photo of young men wearing the shirts went viral, triggering an uproar.
Meanwhile, Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi had on Saturday said the Islamic terror group is trying to set up base in the state and had "tacit understanding" with ULFA.
"We have got some information that al-Qaeda is trying to gain access to Assam. We have taken steps to prevent any such development and asked all concerned to remain cautious," Gogoi told a press conference.
The global terrorist outfit had earlier too tried to set up links in the north east and Assam in association with insurgent groups here but failed to do so, he said.