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Pro-ISIS Twitter account run by Bengaluru executive gets shuts down, blog still active


New Delhi (Dec. 12, 2014): The identity and location of the person who had been anonymously operating the most influential pro-ISIS Twitter account has been revealed in a report. The account, @ShamiWitness, which was reportedly followed by jihadist fighters and Middle East analysts, has been shut down by Twitter since the report surfaced.

A man identified as Mehdi working as an executive in an MNC in Bangalore is believed to be behind @ShamiWitness, a Twitter account that had more than 17,700 followers with tweets being viewed two million times each month. The Twitter handle encouraged ISIS fighters posted the video of US aid worker Peter Kassig's beheading several times. According to the report, Mehdi's Facebook account was markedly different and had routine updates about dinners and work parties.

Channel 4 News did not reveal Mehdi's full name because his life would be in danger if his true identity was made public.

Moreover, the report says that Mehdi would have gone to join Islamic State himself, but his family were financially dependent on him: "If I had a chance to leave everything and join them I might have.. my family needs me here."

The person's blogspot page www.shamiwitness.blogspot.in, though, remains active. In a blog post from June 2013, titled "On al Baghdadi's disobedience of Dr Zawahiri", he addressed inter-jihadi disputes.

Another post from May 2013 is titled "When Jihadists are the only ones left standing". In this post, he writes about the birth and rise of ISIS, elaborated with videos.

He writes: "This is a huge opportunity for jihadist expansion. All the regime advances are happening at the expense of the mostly SMC-allied brigades which are losing ground, partly due to lack of weapons. A logical next step for these hapless fighters would be to ally with the one force that very rarely loses territory to Assad regime : Jabhat an Nusra and allied jihadists."