An Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL)-affiliated group, Ahwaal Ummat Media Center, has disseminated a graphic on the Internet threatening attacks in India and identifying the Taj Mahal as a potential target, reports the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi websites.
Pro-IS Media Group Threatens Attacks in India, Shows Taj Mahal as Target https://t.co/8d2G3xdRBE
— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) March 15, 2017
The pro-Islamic State (IS) media organization used a channel on the encrypted messaging app Telegram to distribute the picture, which shows a jihadist standing close to the 17th-century monument to love in Agra.
Armed with an assault rifle and a rocket-propelled grenade, the ISIS terrorist is wearing combat fatigues and black headgear.
The graphic also features an image of the Taj Mahal within crosshairs with the caption “new target” below it.
“There is also an image of a van with the Arabic text ‘Agra istishhadi’ (Agra martyrdom-seeker) written in English, implying the threat of a suicide attack,” reports the Hindustan Times.
“According to security agencies, some 75 Indians have so far joined IS. This includes 45 who went from India, mostly from Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka, while the remainder were Indians living abroad,” it adds. “About 37 more were apprehended while they were making their way from India to territories controlled by IS.”
ISIS has established a wing close to India, dubbed the Khorasan Province.
Khorasan is an ancient name for a region that covers Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and other countries in the vicinity.
India is no stranger to threats from the Sunni ISIS terrorist group. Indian authorities confirmed the jihadist group’s presence in the country back in January 2016.
Citing unnamed sources that same month, Zee News reported that “over 30,000 people in India are in contact with ISIS” and “ready to work for ISIS to wage war against their own country i.e. India,” the second most populous nation in the world.
Earlier this year, the appearance of graffiti and posters announcing the arrival of ISIS placed military and police officers in a northern Indian state that borders the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir on high alert.
“Security agencies have stepped up efforts to prevent the radicalization and recruitment of youngsters via the internet and communication apps, which are extensively used by the IS,” notes the Hindustan Times.
Last November, the U.S. Embassy in the Indian capital of New Delhi issued a security message, urging Americans to “maintain a high level of vigilance” following media reports of ISIS’s “desire to attack targets in India,” namely places that are visited regularly by Westerners.
US Embassy New Delhi warns of an increased threat to places in India frequented by Westerners, such as religious sites, markets.. pic.twitter.com/g7lOmZPlID
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) November 1, 2016