'O individual wolves out there in the world kill the cross where ever you find it and Kill them strongly, kill them hardly'. This was a chilling message on the private Telegram channel of the Islamic State United Cyber Caliphate. Interestingly, this was a message was put out before the IS put out a kill list of 4,681 civilians across the world of which 285 were Indians.
The kill list is being examined by the National Investigation Agency. On the face of it, the list appears to be a diversionary tactic. The list of Indians was prepared by Yusuf al-Hindi aka Shafi Armar, the alleged handler of the IS based out of Syria.
Kill list or diversionary tactic:
NIA officials say that the IS had picked random names and prepared the list. The list was shared with all IS recruits and the agencies got wind of the same when they seized a laptop belonging to Nasir Bin Yafi Chaus who hails from Parbhani in Maharashtra.
The list contained names, addresses, email IDs and designations of the persons. When one goes through the list, one does not find a specific pattern - these are random names. At first, it was believed that the list was put out with an intention of creating panic among the public. However, a detailed probe revealed that while causing fear was one of the intentions, the larger plan was to create a diversion.
The IS felt that the agencies would be busy probing this list, and this in turn, would ensure a diversion and carry out attacks. It is also important to note that despite this list being released almost five months ago, the IS has not acted upon it.
At the time of the release of the list, agencies found that the IS module in Maharashtra was planning a strike on the Aurangabad Anbti-Terrorist Squad unit. This unit has busted several modules and blocked several plans laid out by the Indian Mujahideen and the Students Islamic Movement of India. NIA officials, who are probing these cases say that by releasing a list, the IS operatives wanted to send the police and other agencies on a wild goose chase.
Those on the list were not the real targets.