Police free Indians caught in Syria infiltration bid

Police free Indians caught in Syria infiltration bid

BANGALORE, India - Indian authorities have released nine people who had been deported from Turkey after allegedly trying to enter an area of Syria controlled by the Islamic State militant group, police said Monday.

Police in the southern city of Bangalore said the nine Indians were released late Sunday, after they admitted during questioning that they had planned to cross over to territory controlled by IS but denied being members of the organisation, which is banned in India.

"We set them free as no incriminating material or any evidence was found against them," Bangalore police chief M.N. Reddi told reporters Monday.

"No case was registered but they were warned against making such attempts in future," he said.

Turkish authorities detained the nine people - a family of seven and two engineers who were in the country on tourist visas - as they were trying to enter Syria on Friday.

Police quoted the group as telling their interrogators that they had only wanted to help civilians who had been affected by the fighting in Syria and Iraq, large parts of which are also controlled by IS.

Thousands of foreign jihadists are believed to have joined IS which has seized swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, ruling with a brutal version of Islamic law.

The group has murdered a number of foreigners, including American, British and Japanese hostages.

India banned the Islamic State group in December after police found a sympathiser who was running a Twitter account and was suspected of online recruitment.

Although India has the third largest number of Muslims in the world, only a few are so far reported to have joined the militant group.

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