Washington: The US has designated as global terrorist Indian-origin Islamic State (IS) militant from Britain Siddhartha Dhar who is considered to have replaced the dreaded group’s executioner Mohammad Emwazi, known as “Jihadi John".
Dhar, a British Hindu who converted to Islam and now goes by the name Abu Rumaysah, had skipped police bail in the UK to travel to Syria with his wife and young children in 2014. He is believed to be the masked leader who appeared in a January 2016 ISIS video of the execution of several prisoners ISIS accused of spying for the UK, the state department said.
A Belgian-Moroccan citizen, Abdelatif Gaini, was also designated as a global terrorist along with Dhar by the US. The US has designated two ISIS members Dhar and Gaini, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists and imposes sanctions on them for committing or posing a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the security of US nationals or the national security, a state department spokesperson said yesterday in a statement.
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 trafficked by Dhar, who was based in Mosul, the group’s former stronghold in Iraq.
Dhar was dubbed as the “New Jihadi John" and became a senior commander of the dreaded outfit, the report had said. The latest state department designations seek to deny Dhar and Gaini the resources they need to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks, the spokesperson said.
Among other consequences, all of Dhar’s and Gaini’s property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them, the statement said.
Dhar was a leading member of now-defunct terrorist organisation Al-Muhajiroun. In late 2014, he left the UK to travel to Syria to join ISIS, it said. He is considered to have replaced ISIS executioner Emwazi, also known as “Jihadi John", it said.
Gaini, believed to be fighting for ISIS in the Middle East, is connected to UK-based ISIS sympathisers Mohamad Ali Ahmed and Humza Ali, who were convicted in the UK in 2016 of terrorism offences, the statement said.
The action notifies the US public and the international community that Dhar and Gaini have committed or pose a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism, it said.
Terrorism designations expose and isolate organisations and individuals, and deny them access to the US financial system. Moreover, designations can assist the law enforcement activities of US agencies and other governments, it added. PTI