The United States on Tuesday, January 23, named two members of terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as a "specially designated global terrorist." The two names are Abdelatif Gaini and Siddhartha Dhar and the latter is of Indian-origin.
The designation means that the two terrorists would lose all the assets and properties owned by them in the US and Americans are now forbidden from carrying out any kind of transactions with the duo.
Speaking of Dhar and his designation as a global terrorist, the US in a statement said that Dhar is known to have replaced Jihadi John. "He is considered to have replaced ISIS executioner Mohammad Emwazi, also known as 'Jihadi John', the masked man who appeared in videos of the slaying of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff," the announcement said, according to Hindustan Times.
Meanwhile, Gaini is a Belgian-Moroccan citizen and is believed to be fighting for ISIS mostly in West Asia.
Who is Siddhartha Dhar and how did he become a key member of ISIS?
- Dhar was born in a Bengali family in London and was raised in the UK.
- He converted to Islam at a very young age and also changed his name to Saiful Islam.
- He fled the UK in 2014 and travelled to Syria to join ISIS.
- Dhar then adopted the name Abu Rumaysah al-Britani and advocated global jihad.
- He carried out a series of interviews with BBC, Channel 4, and al-Jazeera and was often asked to explain what motivated teens and young adults to join ISIS.
- After joining ISIS, he spoke to BBC and said that he couldn't wait to see the UK governed by the Sharia law.
- "Now that we have this caliphate I think you'll see many Muslims globally seeing it as an opportunity for the Koran to be realised," he told BBC. "As a Muslim I would like to see the UK governed by the Sharia. It is far superior to democracy. I don't really identify myself with British values. I am Muslim first, second and last."
- While Dhar was a known name after the interviews, he hit headlines when he appeared in a propaganda video threatening to attack the UK. He was then popularly known as the new "Jihadi John."
- Dhar also wrote a travel guide to the Islamic State in 2015 called "A Brief Guide to Islamic State."
- In it, he describes the Islamic State as a place that "screams diversity."
- "If you thought London or New York was cosmopolitan, then wait until you step foot (sic) in the Islamic State because it screams diversity ... In my short time here I have met people from absolutely every walk of life, proof that the caliphate's pulling power is strong and tenacious," he wrote.
- Dhar is said to be a key member of the now-defunct terrorist organisation Al-Muhajiroun.
- He is a father to four children and has earlier posted an image on Twitter, which showed him posing with a rifle and his newborn son.