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Air Hostess Who Recruited 20 Indians For ISIS on WhatsApp, Facebook Reveals Details of Gulf Money Trail

Officials in the know about the interrogation in Philippines told CNN-News18 that Karen Aizha Hamidon not only confirmed NIA's suspicion about how ISIS was spreading its footprint in India but also provided fresh leads.

Arunima | CNN-News18Arunima24

Updated:May 3, 2018, 11:59 PM IST
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Air Hostess Who Recruited 20 Indians For ISIS on WhatsApp, Facebook Reveals Details of Gulf Money Trail
Thirty-seven-year-old Karen Aizha Hamidon is a former Emirates air hostess who was arrested by Manila authorities last year after a lookout circular was issued by NIA. (Photo: CNN-News18)
New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency questioned Karen Aizha Hamidon, a former air hostess alleged to be a key ISIS recruiter, in Philippines and found fresh leads in its investigation related to the presence of the terror outfit in India.

Karen has been named in three chargesheets by NIA for influencing Indians to join ISIS. "She was running different Facebook pages, WhatsApp groups and Telegram channels for motivating, radicalizing and instigating her online associates from different countries, including India, to fight on behalf of ISIS in conflict zones,” an NIA spokesperson said.

Officials in the know about the interrogation in Philippines told CNN-News18 that Karen not only confirmed NIA's suspicion about how ISIS was spreading its footprint in India but also provided fresh leads.

"We have received fresh leads about the money trail. Some Indians living in the gulf offered money to Karen so that she could recruit for ISIS. These are fresh leads which we will now investigate," an official said.

Officials said that Karen is suspected to have recruited more than 20 Indians for ISIS. Her name first cropped up during interrogation of an Indian Oil executive named Shirajuddin.

Karen told NIA that she knew Shirajuddin and regularly chatted with him on social media. NIA investigations have revealed that Shirajuddin was influenced by Karen to the extent that he was willing to take his newborn child to Syria to do jihad on behalf of ISIS.

She also allegedly radicalised four youths from Jammu & Kashmir, one from Daman and Diu, who is engaged in money exchange, two from Hyderabad and one each from Kanpur and Kolkata.

In a statement, the agency said that the questioning resulted in confirmation of several facts revealed during the investigation and also provided significant leads about her associates in India, who were active online, to propagate the ideology of the ISIS and also about a few Indians residing abroad who have helped her financially.

The 37-year-old is a former Emirates air hostess who was arrested by Manila authorities last year after a lookout circular was issued by NIA. She has been charged for conspiring, recruiting and fomenting a terror attack on south Philippines city of Marawi.

Marawi was overtaken by ISIS in 2017 and Karen is accused of recruiting them through her social media posts.

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| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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