The family of a 21-year-old Malappuram native on Tuesday received a WhatsApp message claiming that their son has been killed in a drone attack carried out by the United States in Afghanistan. Muhammad Muhasin, a resident of Changaramkulam in Malappuram district, has been missing for the past two years and is suspected to have joined the Islamic State (ISIS).
Sources in the special branch of district police told TNM that Muhammad’s father received a WhatsApp message from an unknown number on Tuesday evening stating that his son was ‘killed during a drone attack by the United States on July 18’. However, officials stated that it is difficult to confirm the authenticity of the news.
“The man was reported to be missing from his home for the last two years. Though the message also states that he had been with the ISIS in Afghanistan, there is no way to confirm this,” said the official.
According to reports, Huzaifa al-Bakistani, a Pakistani commander of the Khorasan wing of IS, was also killed in the drone strike on July 18. According to the message received by Muhammad’s family, Muhammad was also killed on the same day in the same strike. Sources state that it is strange that the message was sent on WhatsApp since such messages are usually sent via the instant messaging application Telegram.
As per the report, Huzaifa’s death has been confirmed by the mouthpiece of the Islamic State. The report by the IS says that the drone strike took place in the Khogyani district of eastern Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan.
Though the death of Muhammad cannot be confirmed officially, of late, information passed down to family members through social media chats has become the source of news of the deaths of ISIS recruits. However, since the source is social media, it is also difficult to trace from where exactly these messages are sent, officials said.
Similarly, the death of Rashid Abdulla, leader of the Kerala module of ISIS, was broadcast through a Telegram chat in June. Rashid, who was the leader of the 21 people from Kerala who migrated to Afghanistan in May 2016, had reportedly died a strike by the US. The information was passed onto a police officer who had been posing questions to an IS member in Telegram chat. In the chat, the IS member reportedly said that Abdulla was killed a month ago.