FPJ Exclusive: Arrested Nashik Engineer Hussaif Abdul Aziz Shaikh Was Honey-Trapped By Widow Of Notorious ISIS Leader Shafi Armar

FPJ Exclusive: Arrested Nashik Engineer Hussaif Abdul Aziz Shaikh Was Honey-Trapped By Widow Of Notorious ISIS Leader Shafi Armar

The journey of a Nasik engineer from romanticism to terrorism falling into the net of global terrorist ISIS

Ashish SinghUpdated: Wednesday, January 31, 2024, 07:47 AM IST
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Engineer Hussaif Abdul Aziz Shaikh (32), recently arrested in Nashik by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) for alleged links to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), was honey-trapped into supporting the terror organisation. During the investigation, it was revealed that his handlers had laid out an elaborate plan to involve him in their nefarious activities.

According to sources in security agencies, Shaikh was romantically involved with the widow of globally notorious terrorist Shafi Armar, also known as Yusuf-Al-Hindi. Armar was killed in a US drone attack in Raqqa, Syria, in 2015, and he was known as the ISIS Khorasan module chief and a close confidant of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.

The ATS found during the investigation that Shaikh and Armar's widow, Rubiya Jahan Najeeb, a Pakistani national currently in Syria, were planning to marry after a five-year online relationship. Shaikh intended to move to Syria for the marriage. Rubiya, handling the ISIS honey trap and funding operations, successfully radicalised Sheikh through their friendship that began around 2018-2019 through Facebook.

In 2021, Shaikh sent USD 200 to Rubia for the first time through a bank transfer, and in October and November 2023, he transferred Rs 50,000 to her account on two occasions. When he was to transfer Rs 50,000 again, he came under the agency's radar for suspicious transactions linked to an ISIS-associated bank account.

Shaikh, who visited several countries, was in touch with individuals linked to an ISIS sleeper cell in India, according to sources. The investigation is ongoing, with the agency scrutinising his social media accounts, chats and transaction details.

According to top official sources, several years after the death of the chief of the ISIS Khorasan module, intelligence agencies have obtained significant information about the family of this global terrorist. Even other global security agencies, including the United States, which declared Safi Armar, also known as Yusuf Al Hindi, a global terrorist and killed him during an operation in 2015, were not aware that Safi Armar had married a Pakistani girl. She is currently orchestrating ISIS operations from Syria following his death. This revelation emerged after the arrest of a Sheikh in Nashik, who fell into the honeytrap set by the global terrorist's widow.

After Armar's death, intelligence agencies obtained significant information about his family. Rubiya met Armar in Pakistan in 2012-13 when he joined the ISIS Khorasan module. Originally from Bhatkal in coastal Karnataka, Armar was associated with the Indian Mujahideen. He reportedly fled to Pakistan with his elder brother Sultan Armar following the 2008 Batla House encounter.

According to agencies' investigation, both Rubiya and Armar were actively engaged through social media in brainwashing and recruiting youths from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to carry out terror attacks in tandem with Pakistan's ISI.

The recently arrested ISIS Maharashtra and Ratlam module Al Sufa chief Imran Khan was recruited by Armar. The NIA had filed a chargesheet against Armar and five others for allegedly conspiring to carry out terror strikes in New Delhi and during the "ardh kumbh" in Haridwar in 2016.

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