After Dhaka terror, Al-Qaeda calls for lone-wolf attacks in India

05 July 2016

Asim Umar, the head of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent or AQIS, has reportedly asked Indian Muslims to ''rise up and to follow the example of lone wolf attackers in Europe''.

The report has been published by the US-based SITE intelligence groups which tracks terror networks across the world.

Lone wolf attacks are more preferred by IS sympathisers across the world and it has so far not been considered Al-Qaeda's style.

The call for violence comes days after a major attack in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, which left 20 people dead and was claimed by Islamic State, though the authorities have refuted the claim.

Al-Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri announced the creation of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) about two years ago. Its leader Asim Umar is from India.

The Al-Qaeda statement comes four days after the US State Department designated the group as a "foreign terrorist organisation" and added Umar to the list of "global terrorists."

Last December, it was reported by The Indian Express that Umar is from Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh and was known as Sanaul Haq. He studied at the Darul Uloom Deoband seminary before moving to Pakistan in the late 1990s.

The banned Ansar-al-Islam claims to be the Bangladesh division of AQIS. In April, it had claimed responsibility for the murder of Nazimuddin Samad, a student activist.

Al-Qaeda and ISIS or Daesh have been in a power tussle to establish themselves in India and Bangladesh. Daesh had earlier in the year issued a statement saying that Bangladesh was a strategic location for them as they can launch attacks on Myanmar and India from there.

Al-Qaeda usually doesn't exhort lone wolf attacks, but Intelligence Bureau officials told The Times of India that both the terrorist groups were encouraging lone wolf attacks as they have not been able to establish themselves in India yet. It was also harder to track and arrest lone wolf attackers, such as the Orlando attacker or the California attackers.

Countrywide sweeps for terror outfits since January have led to the arrest of over 50 ISIS individuals in India, while the Delhi Police had foiled a terror plot and arrested AQIS members in 2015.

International terror groups like Islamic State and Al-Qaeda are trying to replace home grown terror outfits like Indian Mujahideen or Pakistan-based terror outfits such as Jaish-e-Mohammed.


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