The arrests were made in Kashmir, Bangalore and Mangalore

Kerala remains a target for global terror outfit Islamic State (IS) at least to recruit committed youths to its fold. The interrogation of four people arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) recently over suspected IS links revealed they had been trying to recruit youths from Kerala to the IS fold.

The arrests were made in Kashmir, Bengaluru and Mangalore. Those nabbed from Bengaluru on Wednesday disclosed they were trying to cajole youngsters from Kerala, by spreading the extremist ideology of the IS through social media platforms such as Telegram, Instagram and Hoop.

They also attempted to recruit youth from Jammu and Kashmir and Karnataka. They likely aimed to set up a unit of the IS in India.

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The probe also revealed that the four IS cadres arrested from Karnataka and Kashmir had visited Kerala many times during the last couple of months. A Keralite youth, Muhammed Ameen alias Abu Yahia, who was arrested in March, had coordinated the activities of the group, which is now in police custody.

Ameen, who had been actively involved in IS activities in Syria and Iraq, later came to India and led operations from Delhi.

He devised a plan to effect a large recruitment process in India, mainly aimed at youth. For this purpose, he visited Kashmir. Along with Muhammed Waqar Lone alias Wilson Kashmir, he amassed funds for terrorist activities. Once Ameen was arrested, the NIA got details of his accomplices.

The probe by investigating agencies had earlier detected that 12 persons, including one Shiyas, his wife Ajmala and their one-and-half-year-old child, from Padanna In Trikaripur in Kasaragod district, had reached Syria in 2016 and joined the IS.

Interestingly, Ajmala's uncle was arrested in Bangalore on Wednesday for his links with the IS.

The arrested persons were brought to NIA headquarters in New Delhi for interrogation on Thursday.

The militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is also known as the Islamic State. It follows a Salafi jihadist doctrine. It had hit the headlines worldwide after 2014 after taking control over much of Syria and Iraq, but by late 2017, it had lost 95 per cent of its territory. At its peak, the Islamic State held about a third of Syria and 40 per cent of Iraq.