Terror groups’s media outlet Amaq claims Yusuf-al-Hindi died in Syria.
Mumbai: Islamic State’s (IS) official media outlet, Amaq recently indicated that its main India recruiter, fugitive Shafi Armar (30) alias ‘Yusuf-al-Hindi’, allegedly died in a suicide attack in Syria. However, sources in the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) discounted the claim as ‘unreliable’.
Sources said that the agency’s verification, using human and technical intelligence, did not confirm the death.
Armar’s role is being probed in several terror cases across the country by the National Investigation Agency and police agencies of other states, including the one related to the busting of a Parbhani-based IS module last year by the ATS.
There is an Interpol alert pending against Armar that warrants his detention or arrest globally by member countries, while he was designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) by the US State Department in June.
“We are aware of the IS’s Amaq’s claims that Shafi Armar, who it referred to as an Indian named ‘Abu Yusuf al-Hindi’, died in an operation in Raqqa but the enquiries and verification made so far did not confirm this claim,” said an ATS officer.
The officer said, “Armar is purportedly in Syria for the past three-four years with the IS, as its main recruiter for India who uses many aliases, including Anjan Bhai and Farook. Whether it’s via human intelligence assets or technical intelligence, there is no confirmation that Armar is dead.
In chats intercepted by counter-terror agencies in 2013, Armar allegedly indicated his inclination for fighting in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Sources claim he hoped to turn India “like Iraq and Syria”.
In 2016, the ATS had busted a Parbhani-based ISIS module comprising local youths who were allegedly radicalised and incited to conduct violent acts by their Syria-based handler Farook, who is suspected to be Armar, said a source.
Farook had allegedly instructed the module members to avenge the death of an IM member in an alleged police encounter by targeting officers of the ATS unit and police (rural) headquarters in Aurangabad.