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Top Islamic State recruiter Bangaluru-based, British TV reveals

12 December 2014

In a sensational revelation, a report on Friday said a Bengaluru-based Indian executive could be one of the biggest online recruiters for terror group Islamic State. And the report emerged in the UK; not from India's intelligence agencies.

According to Britain's Channel 4 News, the "man behind the most influential IS Twitter account'' is called ''Mehdi'' and he is an executive in Bengaluru working for an Indian conglomerate.

The British news channel decided not to reveal his full name as he says his life would be in danger if his true identity was made public.

"His tweets, written under the name Shami Witness, were seen two million times each month, making him perhaps the most influential Islamic State Twitter account, with over 17,700 followers," the channel says.

Bangalore Police Commissioner M N Reddi told a news agency that "crime branch is carrying out investigations in the case".

Shami Witness, ''the most influential pro-Islamic State Twitter account to be followed by foreign jihadis'' is no more active after the probe uncovered the identity of the man behind it.

The channel claims that Mehdi used to spend his day ''sending thousands of tweets of propaganda about the Islamic State militant group, acting as the leading conduit of information between jihadis, supporters, and recruits.''

According to a recent report by the Brookings Institute, social media is ''one of the key organisational strengths of the Islamic State''. Quoting the report, the channel says the group uses such channels "to spread and legitimise IS's ideology, activities, and objectives, and to recruit and acquire international support".

The report added, ''Two -thirds of all foreign fighters on Twitter followed him (Shami Witness). When a fighter's Twitter account was suspended, he often promoted a new one and urged people to follow it.''

Not just this, Mehdi was in regular touch of British jihadis, and used to hail them as martyrs if they died.

His family is the reason why Mehdi could not join Islamic State himself. ''If I had a chance to leave everything and join them I might have ... my family needs me here," he has tweeted.

Mehdi used to post thousands of updates every month on his @ShamiWitness Twitter account, usually from his cellphone.

He tweeted the video of the execution of US aid worker Peter Kassig five times.

"May Allah guide, protect, strengthen and expand the Islamic State ... Islamic State brought peace, autonomy, zero corruption, low crime-rate", he wrote on Twitter in November.

On Facebook pages, the man ''regularly shares jokes, funny images and talks about superhero movies, posting pictures of pizza dinners with friends, and Hawaiian parties.''

However, conversations regarding uprisings in Libya and Egypt indicate his Islamist ideology.

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