Friday, 4 May 2018

NIA questions Manila-based IS recruiter, looks for Indians involved

NIA questions Manila-based IS recruiter, looks for Indians involved

Published: May 4, 2018 5:22:37 am (Indian Express)

THE NATIONAL Investigation Agency (NIA) is looking for a few Indians at home and abroad who are suspected to have interacted with an Islamic State (IS) recruiter and motivator based in Philippines.

A two-member NIA team, led by an Inspector General, visited Manila between April 24 and April 28 to question the recruiter, identified as Karen Aisha Al Muslimah alias Karen Aisha Hamidon. Hamidon is learnt to have given leads to the NIA on Indians who were in touch with her and wanted to join the IS. The agency is pursuing the leads.

Hamidon’s name first came up during the interrogation of a Tamil Nadu techie, who was deported from Sudan in December 2015 after an attempt to reach Syria to fight along side IS. According to the NIA, Mohammed Naseer told them that Hamidon was among the motivators who egged him on to join IS.

Naseer told interrogators that he was not happy at work and started watching videos of IS propaganda and lectures by controversial preachers such as UK-based Anjem Choudary.
Sources said he came in contact with an IS supporter operating an account using the handle “Dawlah”, who helped him join three pro-IS WhatsApp groups. One of these was “Islam Q&A” run by Hamidon, who claimed to be from Manila. Also part of this group were Mohammed Sirajuddin, who was arrested on December 10, 2015, a Sharjah resident named Yusha Kashmiri and an Indian named Salman Munabbar.

Later, several men arrested by NIA said that they had been in touch with Hamidon online. This included a Pune-based teenage girl who was in the news over an alert of suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir.

In January this year, the J&K police had declared that an 18-year-old girl from Yerwada, Pune had been apprehended on suspicion of attempting a suicide attack on Republic Day. However it later clarified that nothing untoward was found against the girl.

Based on information provided by India, Philippines authorities arrested Hamidon last year following which India sent a judicial request to get access to the IS recruiter.

“During investigation of ISIS related cases registered in 2015 and 2016 by NIA, it was revealed that three accused persons namely Mohd Naser r/o Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, Mohd Sirajuddin r/o Gulbarga, Karnataka, and Adnan Hasan r/o Bhatkal, Karnataka were in online contact with one Karen Aisha Al Muslimah alias Karen Aisha Hamidon on messaging applications viz., Facebook, WhatsApp and Telegram. It further came on record that Karen was also in online contact with many other Indians,” an NIA statement said.

According to the NIA, Hamidon’s involvement was also confirmed through data retrieved from laptops and mobile phones used by the accused. The NIA has identified her as “one of the most active ISIS operative based in Philippines between 2014 and December 2015”.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Kathua Rape: BJP alleges ‘IS links’ to hoax hartal call over Kathua rape case, seeks NIA probe

Kathua Rape: Exposing a Viral List of Lies From Ground Zero

BJP alleges ‘IS links’ to hoax hartal call over Kathua rape case, seeks NIA probe

BJP in Kerala on Monday alleged there was a connection between terror outfit ISIS and the recent ‘hoax’ hartal call in the state over the Kathua rape and sought an NIA probe. The party would lodge a complaint with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) seeking a probe in this regard, BJP state general secretary M T Ramesh told reporters here. He claimed posters demanding justice for the Kathua rape victim, allegedly prepared by a pro-ISIS social media group based in Sri Lanka, had been widely circulated on social media in the state along with the hartal call.

The April 16 hoax call by some unidentified groups on the social media had triggered widespread tension across the state, with agitators blocking public transport, forcibly downing shutters and hurling stones at vehicles in the name of the ‘hartal’. A large number of people were arrested across the state in connection with the hartal while police later said they found some whatsapp groups had purposefully spread the call.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

'Threat of ISIS inspired lone wolf attacks real', says Home Ministry

'Threat of ISIS inspired lone wolf attacks real', says Home Ministry

"Radicalisation of youth by terror outfits through the misuse of the Internet and social media, has emerged as a big challenge in recent times. The problem is further accentuated by the fact that the terror groups have started using secure social media platforms and proxy servers etc, to avoid detection by intelligence and law enforcement agencies," the MHA said in the report titled, ' Central Armed Police Forces and Internal Security Challenges- Evaluation and Response Mechanism.'

 The Home Ministry also said that terrorists are using secure internet pathways to reach out and radicalise the youth. While stating that the ISIS and AQ are posing new security challenges, the MHA says that the security establishment is worried about those returning from conflict-ridden areas. It further said that lone wolf attacks that were witnessed abroad cannot be ruled out in India.
The ISIS is using the various mediums at its disposal to propagate its ideology. It is attempting to lure recruits from across the world. Further, the MHA also said that a close watch needs to be kept on preachers who are misguiding the youth.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

39 Indians Killed in Iraq: Deaths Confirmed by DNA Test

39 abducted Indians in Iraq may have been killed by ISIS in 2014 itself

After almost four years, External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj confirmed that the 39 Indians abducted by the Islamic State are dead. She said that the confirmation came after the DNA samples of 38 persons had matched. In the case of the 39th India, the sample was a 70 per cent match, she also said in the Rajya Sabha.
There have been many flip-flops in this case since the news broke out in 2014. The first time that the news about the death of the workers came out was when Harjit Masih one of the workers who managed to escape spoke out. He said while he had managed to escape, he had witnessed the massacre of his colleagues. This claim was however rejected by the government. Going by Masih's version it became clear that all of them had died in 2014 itself. The government, however, rejected the claim. Top government sources said that the claim had been rejected at that time since there was no proof of their death. We had to do a lot of groundwork before we could confirm the news, the source also said.

'I told the truth, but govt mislead families', says man who escaped from ISIS' captivity

Harjit Masih, the only Indian to escape from the ISIS' captivity in Iraq, on Tuesday squarely blamed the government of 'misleading' the families 39 persons who were killed in Mosul. Masih had earlier claimed that he was shot in the leg but managed to flee. However, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj dismissed his claims during her statement in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Swaraj maintained that Masih had escaped by faking his identity, adding that she had concrete evidence that he was lying.

"I told the truth that 39 Indians were killed. The government has misled the 39 families who lost their relatives," ANI quoted Masih as saying.
The group of 40 men, most of them construction workers, were abducted from war-ravaged Mosul, the northern Iraqi city which was once a stronghold of Islamic State. Harjit Masih, the only Indian to escape the abductors, had claimed that the others in the group were gunned down on June 15, 2014.

Reports had then emerged that Masih was able to escape after claiming that he was a Bangladeshi Muslim. Upon his return, Masih had claimed that all the Indians were killed. A native of a village near Punjab's Batala, Masih claimed he had been abducted with the rest of 39 people by ISIS. He further claimed that he saw all of them being shot dead by the abductors and that he was able to escape unhurt.


"Why Centre kept us in the dark? ask grieving families of massacred Indians

Chandigarh, Mar 20: As they try to come to terms with the grim reality, family members of the 39 Indians massacred years ago in Iraq by terror organisation ISIS have one question: why did the Centre keep them in the dark all this while? Heart-rending scenes were visible outside the homes of the deceased in Punjab as wailing family members tried to give vent to their pain having heard on TV, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's statement that all 39 Indians in ISIS captivity were dead and their bodies had been recovered.

Several relatives of the killed workers said they were not officially informed about their loved ones by any government authority. What do we say now? asked a dejected Sarwan whose 31-year-old brother Nishan was among those killed.

"The government kept us in the dark all these years," Sarwan, who belongs to Amritsar, claimed. Now after four years, they are making such a shocking statement, he agonised. "We met the Union minister (Swaraj) 11 to 12 times and were told that as per their sources, the missing Indians are alive. They have been saying that Harjit Masih, the lone survivor, is a liar. If your sources have been saying they were alive and now suddenly what happened. The government should have told us they have no information about missing Indians rather than making false statements," said Sarwan, who received heard his brother's voice over a phone call in June 21, 2014.


Mortal remains of 39 Indians killed by ISIS in Iraq brought back to India

Minister for State for External Affairs, V K Singh has returned with the mortal remains of 39 Indians killed by the Islamic State in Iraq. The aircraft carrying the mortal remains has landed in Amritsar. The minister flew in a C-17 plane-the largest cargo aircraft of the Indian Air Force. After Amritsar, Singh would travel to Patna and Kolkata to personally hand over the mortal remains to the families.

Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj had told Parliament last month that all the 39 Indians, abducted by the ISIS in Iraq in 2014, had been killed and their bodies recovered.
As many as 40 Indians were abducted by the ISIS terror group from Mosul in Iraq but one of them escaped posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh, Swaraj had said in Rajya Sabha.
The remaining 39 Indians were taken to Badoosh and killed, she had said.
Search operations led to a mound in Badoosh where locals said some bodies were buried by the ISIS. Deep penetration radars were used to establish that the mound indeed was a mass grave, she had said, adding the Indian authorities requested their Iraqi counterpart to exhume the bodies.
Swaraj said the mass grave had exactly 39 bodies, with distinctive features such as long hair, non-Iraqi shoes and IDs. The bodies were then sent to Baghdad for DNA testing.
DNA testing by Martyrs Foundation established the identity of 38 Indians while there has been 70 per cent matching of the DNA for the 39th person, she had said.

Bodies of four ISIS victims from Himachal Pradesh to be cremated on Tuesday

Apr 02, 2018, 20:08 IST | IANS (Mid Day)

The mortal remains of four construction workers hailing from Himachal Pradesh -- whose bodies were flown in from Iraq to Amritsar in Punjab -- will be taken to their native places late Monday and consigned to flames a day later, officials said.

Aman Kumar, 27, Inderjeet, 26, and Sandeep Kumar, 38, all from Kangra district, and Hem Raj, 32, of Mandi district were among the 39 Indians who were killed by the Islamic State terror group in Mosul in Iraq in 2014. The body of Sandeep Kumar will be kept in a mortuary at Nurpur town, while those of Inderjeet and Aman Kumar will be kept at Dharamsala town on Monday night. The remains would be handed over their families on Tuesday. The body of Hem Raj will be sent directly to Sundernagar town in Mandi district. Earlier in the day, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh had accompanied the mortal remains of 38 Indians back home. 

The coffins carrying the remains of 31 victims -- 27 from Punjab and four from Himachal Pradesh -- were handed over to respective authorities at the Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport in Amritsar, seven coffins were shifted to another aircraft to be flown to West Bengal (3) and Bihar (4).
Himachal's Food and Civil Supplies Minister Kishan Kapoor was among those present at the airport to receive the coffins, along with officials of the other states to which the victims belonged.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Updated: 3 ISIS militants killed in J&K's Anantnag, schools, colleges shut in Srinagar

3 ISIS militants killed in J&K's Anantnag, schools, colleges shut in Srinagar

Updated Mar 12, 2018, 12:59 pm IST (Deccan Chronicle)

Srinagar: The authorities shut schools and colleges in Srinagar district whereas security forces in riot gear were quickly fanned out to enforce security lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital amid rising tensions following the killing of three militants allegedly owning allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) in an overnight encounter. While schools and colleges were shut in Srinagar district, the class work at Kashmir University and other similar institutions was suspended and all board and university level examination scheduled for Monday deferred too.

The Cellular companies snapped high-speed mobile Internet service in Srinagar city following an order to this effect was issued by the district administration. “The mobile internet speed was reduced to 2G as soon as we got the order to do so,” said an official. Security restrictions were being imposed also on parts of Anantnag including Kokernag, a report said. An official spokesman said that these steps were taken to prevent “breach of law and order” in the summer capital and elsewhere.

Initial reports had said that three militants belonging to Hizb-ul-Mujahedin outfit were killed in a firefight with the security forces in southern Anantnag district overnight. However, a file photograph of one of the slain militants Eisa Fazili which has gone viral on Facebook since shows him wearing T-shirt with the ISIS's emblem and standing near a banner of the outfit which is also known by its Arabic language acronym Daesh. The ISIS has named slain men as Abu Zarr Al-Hindi, Abu Barra Al-Kashmiri and Eisa Ruhollah Khatab Al-Kashmiri.

The police said that while “Pursuing credible leads” about the presence of militants, the security forces mounted a search operation in Anantnag’s Hakoora area late on Sunday night.


Telangana man among 3 ISIS militants killed in Srinagar encounter: police

Updated Mar 15, 2018, 10:06 am IST (Deccan Chronicle)

Hyderabad: Telengana police has identified the third militant, killed along with Esa Fazli and Syed Owais this week in south Kashmir, as a resident of Bhadradri-Kothagudem district of Telangana who followed ISIS' ideology and had fled to the Valley last year to join militancy.

Three militants, including Fazli and Owais, both of whom left their B.Tech third year course to join militancy, were killed in the encounter on the intervening night of March 11 and 12, a development seen as a blow to the attempts by ISIS to gain ground in the Kashmir Valley.

After a request for identification sent by Jammu and Kashmir police, the Telangana police came out with a small press note in which it claimed that the person was identified as 26-year-old MD Toufeeq hailing from Bhadradri-Kothagudem district of Telangana.

"It is learnt that MD Toufeeq, a native of Manguru, died in an encounter with security forces on the intervening night of March 11-12 in Hakura area of Anantnag district along with two other Kashmiri militants," the statement said.

Toufeeq was radicalised into the Islamic State ideology through social media and went to Kashmir to participate in terrorist activities of the ISIS, according to the release.

While asking them to share the details, the Jammu and Kashmir police had given the name of Mohammed Toufeeq alias 'Sultan Zabul Al Hind'. The two other slain militants were identified as Eisa Fazili of Srinagar and Syed Owais of Kokernag (Anantnag).

The ISIS had claimed responsibility for carrying out the attack and said that the war has just begun. A day after the February 26 attack, the ISIS had on its media website ‘Al Amaq’ said, “Assassinated an element of police in firing near city of Srinagar in Kashmir yesterday…A war has just begun.”

The group had also placed the photograph of the service weapon of Farooq Ahmed Yatoo, the policeman killed while guarding the residence of separatist Hurriyat Conference leader Fazl ul Haq’s Qureshi at Soura, on its website.

Slain T'gana ISIS militant got attracted to 'Kashmir cause' on trip to valley

Updated Mar 16, 2018, 10:07 am IST (Deccan Chronicle)

Hyderabad: The Telangana police found that Mohd Taufeeq, the slain ISIS militant, who was killed in an encounter with security forces in Kashmir, was lured into the militant group through social media, police officials said.  “He spent more time on social media including telegram. He befriended several persons with names Husne Mubarak – Sri Lanka, Trisha – USA, Haleema Sadiq – Pune, Mubashir Islam – Kashmir and Ziaul Khalid of Uttar Pradesh. It appears, these are pseudo names of recruiters who are based in different countries,” an official said.

He stayed in Hyderabad and worked with a construction company based at Nallakunta in 2015 where he devoted much of his time browsing literature about “Kashmir issue”.  In October 2015, Taufeeq went to Kashmir along with his friend Md Arif who is a native of the state.  Taufeeq met Arif at ECIL in Hyderabad.

“During his visit, Tauseef met his telegram friend Mubassir in Kashmir and both decided to join ISIS in one year after obtaining passports and money. Nearly a year later, he went to the Kashmir and joined the group Ansar Ghazwatul Hind (AGUH),” the police dossier of the slain militant revealed.
According to the dossiers, the slain ‘militant’, Mohammed Taufeeq, got attracted to ‘Kashmir cause’, during his visit to the valley in 2012.

Taufeeq along with two other Kashmiris, Eisa Fazili and Syed Owais Shafi were killed in a gun battle with the security forces in Anantanag district of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday night. “In the year 2012, Taufeeq had gone for a tour along with his family for seven days. During his travel to Gulmarg valley, he took pictures of the banners put up to support “Kashmir cause” and inquired about the issue with the locals there. Since then he got inclined towards the Kashmir issue and followed it on facebook and other social media platforms,” an intelligence official said.

Taufeeq, according to the police, keenly followed Jammu and Kashmir-based newspaper and posted anti-national messages. He regularly heard the speeches of Maulana Masood Azhar and other separatist leaders from the valley. 

For more, visit 
#ISIS in Kashmir: 2017-2018

Monday, 26 February 2018

ISIS-linked Indian-origin duo kidnap British couple, arrested

ISIS-linked Indian-origin duo kidnap British couple, arrested

Johannesburg:  South African special police unit Hawks have arrested an Indian-origin woman and her partner, both allegedly linked to ISIS, on charges of abducting a British couple.
Fatima Patel and Safydeen Aslam Del Vecchio also face charges of robbery and theft after they went on a spending spree using the couples' credit cards, building up a stash of jewellery, camping equipment and electronic devices which were found at a remote location where an ISIS flag was being flown.

The Hawks declined to provide any further information due to the sensitive nature of the case as the search continues for the couple whose vehicle was found abandoned more than 300 km away from where they were last seen on February 9.

But the weekly Sunday Times, quoting a charge sheet after their court appearance, reported that Patel and Del Vecchio also stand accused of contravening the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorism and Related Activities Act by hoisting an ISIS flag at a modest homestead in a rural area.

Del Vecchio also faces another terrorism-related charge for allegedly participating in "extremist web forums that support ISIS and offering to supply phone numbers and sim cards that are not traceable."


Suspected ISIS couple appears in KZN court

2018-03-01 14:30 (News24)

Durban - Two people accused of having links to terror group Islamic State (ISIS) and the kidnapping of a world renowned horticultural couple made a brief appearance in the Verulam Magistrate's Court on Thursday.
Sayfydeen Aslam Del Vecchio, 38, Fatima Patel, 27, appeared at the North Coast court alongside Mondli Mtethwa.
Del Vecchio and Patel face charges of contravening the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act.
Mthethwa is accused of robbery, after being found with the couple's cellphone in his possession.
Rod and Rachel Saunders, who have both South African and British citizenship, were allegedly kidnapped at or near the Bivane Dam in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal, on February 12.
It is understood that the couple, who run a Cape Town-based seed company, had been in search of a rare flowering plant.
The alleged kidnapping has made news headlines in the UK, with several publications reporting that it is feared the couple have been kidnapped by ISIS members.
In court, 19-year-old Mthethwa complained about a lack of communication on the charges against him.
"I have been in custody and still do not know why I am here," he said.
Magistrate Valaramen Kathravaloo replied: "I have given the earliest possible date for this matter. You will appear again within seven days."

ISIS-linked couple hold hands in court

2018-03-06 18:02 (News24)

Durban – It was all smiles and wide eyes when a couple with suspected links to terror group ISIS greeted each other in the Verulam Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.
Sayfydeen Aslam Del Vecchio, 38, and Fatima Patel, 27, held hands when Magistrate Valaramen Kathravaloo brought court into session.
Between court proceedings, Patel would sit in the dock with her head leaning on Del Vecchio, who listened intently and responded gently as she whispered into his ear.
The duo, through Advocate Jay Naidoo, abandoned their bail application and chose to remain in court, seated next to each other as their co-accused, 19-year-old Themba Xulu, battled for bail.
"They will not proceed with bail application. We indefinitely postpone any application," he said.
Del Vecchio and Patel face charges of contravening the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act.
No bail for co-accused
Rod and Rachel Saunders, who have both South African and British citizenship, were allegedly kidnapped at or near the Bivane Dam in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal, on February 12. No trace of the couple has been found yet.
Xulu is accused of robbery, after being found with the couple's cellphone in his possession.
It is understood that the Saunders, who run a Cape Town-based seed company, had been in search of a rare flowering plant.
Xulu's legal aid attorney Mondli Mthethwa tried to argue for his client to be released on Tuesday, but due to time constraints Kathravaloo reserved judgment until March 22.

READ: Suspected ISIS couple appears in KZN court

Mthethwa tried in vain for more than an hour to use a number of different arguments, including Xulu's age, so he could get bail, but he was easily bested by Advocate Adele Barnard, for the State.
"There are many other young people awaiting trial. His circumstance is no exception," she said.
In an affidavit opposing bail, investigating officer detective Warrant Officer Anuresh Lutchman painted a sinister picture of Del Vecchio, presenting evidence of a seasoned international traveller with links to other countries.


It’s Not Looking Good For The Botanists Kidnapped By ISIS-Linked Couple In KZN



It was first revealed that the missing Cape Town couple had been in contact with a KwaZulu Natal-based couple affiliated with ISIS, but an affidavit presented at the latter’s court hearing on Tuesday reveals the depth and detail of the kidnapping plot.
As it stands, the bodies of the now-named Rodney and Rachel Saunders have yet to be found, but the affidavit in the alleged kidnapping case of the Cape-based botanists is the first indication that they may no longer be alive.
The statement reveals “chilling details of an alleged premeditated murder plot and collusion in disposing of their bodies,” reports IOL.
Married under traditional Islamic law, Sayefudeen Del Vecchio [below], 37, and Fatima Patel, 27, were arrested on February 15 at their homestead near Mtunzini.
On February 26, 19-year-old Thembamandla Xulu, who lived with the couple, was also arrested.

 “On 9 February 2018 there [were] discussions of preparing to kill the kuffar [non-believer] and abduct their allies, to destroy infrastructure and to put the fear in the heart of the kuffar,” said Lutchman’s affidavit.“On 10 February 2018, [Del Vecchio] mentioned to [Patel] and Bazooka (the nickname of the man still being sought by the police) that there is an elderly couple in the forest, that it is a “good hunt” and that they had equipment. The conversation continued between the accused in a similar manner and later [Del Vecchio] confirmed that he has the target.”Not a good look.Worse still, at the couple’s homestead, Lutchman described how he found a flag that was consistent with those used by ISIS. Other items included a “drone, camping equipment, two generators and paintball equipment, amongst others,” all purchased with Rachel’s bank card.Xulu was found with two cellphones belonging to the Saunders in his possession, with his sim cards inside the phones. However, he was unable to explain how he got them.And so the search continues for the couple, who were merely on a mission to find a bunch of rare seeds.