Dec 13, 2014 2:17 AM

India police question man for pro-Islamic State tweets

The Associated Press

BANGALORE, India (AP) Police in southern India said Saturday they have detained a man believed to be behind a popular pro-Islamic State group Twitter account.

Mehdi Masroor Biswas, a 24-year-old engineer, was being questioned by authorities, said a top police official in Bangalore. He gave no other details and spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to reporters.

It was not clear whether Biswas was being questioned for his role as a supporter or whether authorities have reason to believe that he had actual links to the militant group.

On Friday, Britain's Channel 4 reported it had uncovered the identity of the man using the account @shamiwitness.

The account has been deleted, but Channel 4 described Biswas as one of the militant group's most influential Twitter supporters with 17,000 followers and over 2 million views each month.

The British channel described Shami Witness as a "leading conduit of information between jihadis, supporters, and recruits."

The Islamic State group that has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria and declared a self-styled caliphate, or Islamic empire, in areas under its control embraces social media platforms such as Twitter and YouTube.

Hollywood-style film clips and other elements of its media campaign boost the group's credibility among disaffected but plugged-in young Muslims, and helps it promote its conquests, inspire sympathizers and attract new recruits.


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