Ever since a group of Kerala men in their early twenties returned to their hometown Kannur four months ago from Turkey, they have been under the police radar and before they could make their travel to Syria they were nabbed by the Kerala police for alleged ISIS links.
Kannur police suspect they were all geared up to join the terror organisation and be a part of the jihadists in Syria.
"We have been watching these youngsters for some time," Kannur district's senior police officer PP Sadanandan was quoted saying.
Among the five men arrested, Mithilaj KC, 26, Abdul Razak KV, 24, and Rasheed MV, 27 have been identified along with UK Hamsa or Taliban Hamsa who is believed to be the recruiter or the key person who pick youngsters to IS from the area.
Police assert Hamsa operated from Gulf countries since 1998 and worked for a Bahrain-based religious centre Al Ansar, which the police suspect to be a training centre for ISIS sympathisers. He was turned back at the Mangaluru airport based on suspicion.
Around 100 Indians have left to fight for ISIS in Syria, among which people from Kerala are most. The arrest comes at a time when NIA is investigating the missing of 21 who are suspected to have joined the IS terror group.