Indian-origin Islamic State terrorist, said to have replaced 'Jihadi John', designated 'global terrorist' by US state department

Washington: The US has designated Indian-origin Islamic State militant from Britain, Siddhartha Dhar, along with a Belgian-Moroccan citizen as global terrorists and imposed sanctions on them, the state department said.

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.

 Indian-origin Islamic State terrorist, said to have replaced Jihadi John, designated global terrorist by US state department

File image of the Islamic State terrorist known as 'Jihadi John'. Reuters

Nihad Barakat, a Yazidi teenager held as a sex slave by Islamic State, 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 two Islamic State members, Dhar and Abdelatif Gaini, were declared 'Specially Designated Global Terrorists' under Section 1(b) of Executive Order which also 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 economy of the US, a state department spokesperson said in a statement. These designations seek to deny Dhar and Gaini the resources they need to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks, it said.

Among other consequences, all of Dhar's and Gaini's properties and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them, it said.

Dhar was a leading member of the now-defunct terrorist organisation Al-Muhajiroun. In late 2014, Dhar left the UK to travel to Syria to join Islamic State, it said. He is considered to have replaced Islamic State executioner Mohammad Emwazi, also known as 'Jihadi John', it said.

Dhar is believed to be the masked leader who appeared in a January 2016 video of the execution of several prisoners Islamic State accused of spying for the UK, the statement said.

Gaini is a Belgian-Moroccan citizen believed to be fighting for Islamic State in the Middle East. Gaini is connected to UK-based Islamic State sympathisers Mohamad Ali Ahmed and Humza Ali, who were convicted in the UK in 2016 of terrorism offenses, it

Tuesday's 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 said.

Updated Date: Jan 24, 2018 08:10:16 IST