Hundreds of militants from around the world, including from Pakistan, are fighting alongside the dreaded Islamic State in Iraq, according to top military commanders of the war-torn Arab country who said they had no information of Indians being among them.
“Militants from several countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and central Asia are fighting in Iraq,” said Sheikh Meesam Zaidi, a senior commander of Al-Abbas Brigade, which is part of para-military force Hashd al-Shaabi or the Popular Mobilisation Forces.
When asked about presence of Indians in ISIS ranks in Iraq, the commander whose forces are battling terrorists in areas like Salahuddin, Anbar, Baiji said that they have “no such information”.
Responding to a similar question, another top Hashd commander also that they have no knowledge of presence of Indians on Iraqi soil.
“We have no information about their (Indians) presence in Iraq,” Kareem al-Noree, advisor to Hashd’s Badr Bridge chief Hadi al-Amri, told a group of visiting Indian journalists.
According to earlier media reports, some Indians were killed in Syria fighting alongside the ISIS. However, there was no report of Indians joining the battle in Iraq.
Zaidi, whose brigade has lost 50 personnel, said that it was impossible for one country to stop the ISIS and the world should unite to fight against the dreaded terrorist group.
“ISIS is a brutal terrorist group and it’s a threat to the world. We are not fighting (against them) just to save our country, we are fighting to save the world,” Zaidi told reporters.
Hashd al-Shaabi is a state-sponsored umbrella organisation composed of several armed groups formed in 2014 to fight against the ISIS.
Noree said ISIS has nothing to do with Islam and the outfit just wants to establish its control over the region.
“They don’t believe in Islam. They are opportunist who care only for their interests,” he added.
ISIS is an al-Qaeda splinter group which has captured a large part of Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate led by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.