The list was distributed amid concerns that as ISIS collapses in Syria and Iraq it will attempt to send trained operatives to the West to conduct terrorist attacks.
Former Toronto resident Tabirul Hasib, 25, is among 173 ISIS fighters Interpol has named as potential suicide bombers, based on data uncovered by U.S. intelligence.
Terrorism researcher Prof. Amarnath Amarasingam, who found the Canadian on the list, said Interpol disseminated it because “they are scared of many of these guys sneaking into various countries to launch attacks.”
Amarasingam, an expert on foreign affairs and a senior research fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, said most of those named were Iraqis, who would “not really be on the radar of European law enforcement.” But he added that the list also includes several Westerners, including the Bangladeshi-Canadian.
Hasib was part of a group of friends of Bangladeshi and Indian origin who were recruited in Toronto by André Poulin, a Muslim convert originally from Timmins, Ont. Poulin, who called himself “Abu Muslim,” died in Syria in August 2013.
The following year, Hasib and at least two other recruits, including one named Malik Abdul, flew to Turkey. They crossed into Syria at Tal Abyad on July 14, 2014, according to leaked ISIS entry records.
Hasib’s ISIS entry form noted he was single, wanted to be a fighter and had previously traveled to Bangladesh and Lebanon. His “Shariah level” was rated as “student.”
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The Interpol list also said Hasib joined ISIS in July, 2014 and that he used the nom de guerre “Abu Bakr Bangladeshi.” It named his mother, and said he lived at the “Battalion Guest Houses.”
Amarasingam said the group of friends had joined ISIS with the help of former Mississauga resident Mohammed Ali, an ISIS member in Syria.
“As far as I know, two of these Bangladeshis have already been killed in Syria. Tabirul seems to be still alive, but I can’t be sure,” Amarasingam said.
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The Guardian, which first reported on the May 27 list, said it named fighters that “may have been trained to build and position improvised explosive devices in order to cause serious deaths and injuries. It is believed that they can travel internationally, to participate in terrorist activities.”
A note attached to the list said those on it “have been identified through materials found in the hiding places of ISIL,” and added that “it emerges that those subjects may have manifested willingness to commit a suicidal attack or martyrdom to support Islam,” The Guardian reported.
Last April, the brother of one of the fighters who joined ISIS with Hasib was arrested. Kadir Abdul was picked up by Turkish authorities in the city of Adana, not far from the Syrian border.
He was deported to Toronto and arrested by the RCMP on terrorism allegations. Rather than laying criminal charges against him, the RCMP instead sought a one-year terrorism peace bond against the former Toronto bus shelter cleaner. The peace bond has now expired.
During the investigation into Kadir, police discovered that he was the legal owner of an AR-15 “assault type rifle.” Asked by a reporter why he owned a restricted firearm, he declined to answer.