Dhaka attack mastermind was the youngest IS-JMB commander at 22

Vicky Nanjappa profiles the rise and fall of the July 16 Dhaka cafe attack mastermind who was gunned down by security forces

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Nurul Islam alias Marjan alias Shakil, the mastermind of the July 2016 Dhaka Cafe attack was killed early Friday morning. He is believed to be the man who coordinated and masterminded the attack. The rise of the 22-year-old operative who was originally part of the Islami Chhatra Shibir was phenomenal.

Unidentified relatives of Bangladeshi victims of the attack on Holey Artisan Bakery

He was the youngest commander of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, Bangladesh now associated with the Islamic State. A hardcore terrorist, Marjan was radicalised at the age of 14. He hails from a strict Muslim family and is the second of 10 children.

After completing his early education, he was admitted to an Arabic college at the Chittagong University and became involved with Islamic Chhatra Shibir, the radical student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Marjan's radicalisation

Marjan showed signs of radicalisation at a very young age. He was irregular to college and on February 14 2015 he went missing. He was rusticated from college. The next that anyone heard of him was when he married his cousin Afrin. He became the father of a girl on December 20, 2015.

 Nurul Islam alias Marjan alias Shakil

Afrin was however arrested on September 10 last year, along with several other members of the JMB. During the questioning none of them were aware of Marjan's whereabouts.
An intelligence report said that he rose in the ranks of the JMB, and by the age of 22, he was a commander. It was he who is said to have plotted and orchestrated the Dhake cafe atack in which 29 people were hacked to death. His name came up during the investigations.

A month after the attack, the police released his photograph. His details cropped up when the police scrutinised the 30-odd mobile phones that were recovered at the attack site.

Files on Marjan show that he had built up a core team of around 20 members. He is said to have become inspired by the ideology of the IS and this had prompted him to carry out an attack at a place which was frequented by foreigners.

"He was an extremely committed and violent person and had he not been killed there would have been many more attacks such as the one in Dhaka," said the file.

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