Jihadi bride Tashfeen Malik shot first at the San Bernardino massacre a report has revealed as the FBI investigate claims she was responsible for radicalizing her husband.
Witnesses have told The Sunday Times how Malik, 29, had been the first to open fire on her husband’s co-workers at a government department holiday party while Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, appeared to ‘hesitate.’
Intelligence sources fear she may have been a terrorist, who traveled to the U.S. to marry Farook with the sole purpose of carrying out a deadly attack.
Family of Malik describe how she turned from the Westernized daughter of a rich family to burka-wearing jihadi bride after she appeared to have become radicalized while studying pharmacology at Bahauddin Zakariya University in the city of Multan, Pakistan.
After two years of attending the university, starting in 2007, she began posting extremist statements on Facebook, her relative said, adding that it was a cause of concern for her family.
According to the LA Times, a relative of Mailk’s in Pakistan, who asked not to be named, said Malik would stay up late chatting to someone in Arabic.
‘She started taking part in religious activities and also started asking women in the family and the locality to become good Muslims,’ they said. ‘She started taking part in religious activities of women in the area.
‘She used to talk to somebody in Arabic at night on the Internet. None of our family members in Pakistan know Arabic, so we do not know what she used to discuss.’
Malik met Farook on an online dating site and the couple married last year in Islam’s holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, according to Farook’s co-workers.
She arrived in the U.S. wearing a hijab and accompanied by her then husband-to-be and his mother, on July 27 last year on a fiancee visa.
She was described as having a strong influence over her husband and was said to ‘wear the pants’ in the relationship.
The FBI are invesigating that she may have targeted shy Farook, who listed his interests on his iMilap.com profile as enjoying to ‘hanging out in the backyard doing target practice’ and that he liked ‘working on vintage and modern cars, reads religious books’, in a terrorist ‘honeytrap.’
As both religious and experienced with guns, Isis leaders may have circled him as an ideal jihadi candidate for radicalization while his US citizenship would allow Malik into the country
By the time her flight from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare airport the FBI and US Department of Homeland Security had already carried out background checks but had found no indicators of terrorist activities.
When they met, American-born Farook was but well liked officer for the county health department, checking food surfaces at restaurants.
Malik, who was older than her husband at 27 when they married, was very religious and conservative.
A co-worker Farook describe the rapid change in him after the wedding.
‘I think he married a terrorist,’ Christian Nwadike, told CBS This Morning, explaining that the mild-mannered man he thought he knew was different upon his return from Saudi Arabia last year.
Nwadike said told CNN that he believes Farook was ‘set up’ to commit the massacre through his marriage to Malik.
Another friend from the mosque, Abdul Aziz Ahmed, also said Farook stopped attending the mosque following his wedding, and said his radical behavior was completely out of character.
‘He was looking good, he seemed good (after returning from Saudi Arabia),’ Ahmed told CNN. ‘But then he disappeared (after the wedding).’
The couple’s former landlord at North Center Street, Doyle Miller, 81, also said Malik may have been behind the atrocity.
‘She did not like to be seen,’ he told The Sunday Times. ‘She did not seem to like people around here. He seemed ordinary, no worries for me at all. I’m only now thinking that maybe she wore the pants. It could be that she was behind it all.’
Nada Bakos, a former CIA analyst who specialized in tracking al-Qaeda, said that if Malik had been the operational leader in the attack, it could be ‘a game changer’ for the West.
At 10.30am on the day of the attack, Farook had walked out of his office, at the Inland Regional Centre, San Bernardino, to return home to pick up his wife as part of a carefully orchestrated plan.
The couple left their six-month-old baby with Farook’s mother, telling her they were popping out to a doctors appointment.
Instead, they returned to the health department dressed in black and wearing tactical vests, carrying AR-15-style assault rifles, 9mm pistols and more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition.
Witnesses say Farook appeared to hesitate, possibly daunted by the idea of killing his co-workers or trying to find massanic Jew Nicholas Thalasinos, 52, who he was said to have argued with that morning.
His wife Malik took the first shot, opening fire at a group who were gathered around a Christmas tree.
Some dived for cover and hid beneath tables, while the lucky ones fled to safety.
Farook joined his wife in the shooting and as the left, they tried to detonate a remote-controlled bomb which failed to explode.
Fourteen people were murdered in the shooting, and another 21 were injured making it the deadliest terrorist attack inspired by Islamic extremism on US soil since September 11.
Authorities discovered that Malik had sworn allegiance to Isis and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,on Facebook moments before the attack. The profile was quickly removed from public view and its contents reported to law enforcement.
The couple fled the offices in a rented 4×4 and were able to avoid the police for four hours before they were finally tracked down.
Witnesses say Farook had been driving while Malik crouched in the back seat and fired at police through the shattered back window.
They also threw a pipe bomb at the tailing police cruisers before police caught up and the pair were killed in a gun battle.
A former CIA officer told The Sunday Times that the pair’s ability to calmly murder people so easily indicated they may have had ‘at least some degree of training, possibly in Pakistan’.
David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said on Friday that the shooters attempted to destroy evidence, including crushing two cell phones and discarding them in a trash can.
The FBI chief also had established that there were ‘telephonic connections’ between the couple and other people of interest in FBI probes.
Read more: Daily Mail