In an unprecedented move the US State Department has designated Indian-origin Daesh (IS) militant from Britain Siddhartha Dhar as a global terrorist and imposed sanctions on him. He is the first Indian origin convert who is designated as a terrorist by a foreign government.
Another IS member Abdelatif Gaini, is also declared as Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Section 1(b) of Executive Order. The law imposes sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of US nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or country’s economy.
According to State Department, Siddhartha Dhar is a British Hindu who converted to Islam and changed his name to Abu Rumaysah. He is believed to be the masked leader who appeared in a January 2016 IS video showing execution of several prisoners for their alleged involvement in spying for UK government.
Sidhartha Dhar has replaced IS militant Mohammad Emwazi, known as “Jihadi John”, who was reportedly seen in several videos beheading his victims.
Dhar is now being dubbed as the “New Jihadi John” and is considered to be a senior commander in Daesh terror group which has lost battle in Syria and Iraq. Emwazi, who also lived in UK, was killed in a drone strike in 2015 in Raqqa in Syria. The city was considered to be the capital of IS for some time.
A report from a British newspaper say that Dhar was a leading member of now-defunct terrorist organisation Al-Muhajiroun. In late 2014, Dhar, jumped a court bail and left UK to travel to Syria with his wife and young children for joining the dreaded terror group.
Nihad Barakat, a Yazidi teenager held as a sex slave by ISIS, was quoted as saying by the Independent in May 2016, that she was kidnapped and taken by Dhar, who was based in Mosul, Iraq.
Another militant Abdelatif Gaini, designated by the US State Department, is a Belgian-Moroccan citizen believed to be fighting for IS in the Middle East. He is connected to UK-based IS sympathizers Mohamad Ali Ahmed and Humza Ali, who were convicted in 2016 of for terror related offenses.
Terrorism designations under the law expose and isolate organisations and individuals and also deny them access to the US banking system. It also assists the law enforcement activities of US agencies and other governments around the world.