Islamic State-inspired module planning to attack public places, prominent persons, says NIA after 10 arrests in Delhi, UP

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday busted a suspected Islamic State (IS)-inspired terror module following searches in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, arresting at least 10 people allegedly planning to attack crowded places and political personalities. Searches were conducted across 17 locations in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi in connection with a probe into a new module called 'Harkat ul Harb e Islam'.

According to NIA inspector-general Alok Mittal, the module was in touch with foreign handlers and the group was under NIA surveillance for some time following inputs of its suspicious activities. Mittal in a press conference told reporters that searches were carried out in Delhi's Seelampur, Jaffrabad and Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow, Meerut, Amroha and Hapur districts where a huge quantity of explosives, a country-made rocket launcher, 100 mobile phones and 135 SIM cards were recovered.

A total of Rs 7.5 lakh in cash was also recovered during the raids. 16 people were detained and 10 of them were arrested by the NIA after a joint operation of the Delhi Police special cell, the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the NIA. "The level of preparation showed they were planning to attacks in near fidayeen attacks," Mittal said.

Mittal told the media that the suspects were making efforts to build suicide vests for the attacks, and were also in the process of making remote-controlled IEDs.  He said that the suspects were communicating with each other via messaging applications like WhatsApp and Telegram and all of them seemed to be "highly radicalised". Mittal said that the module started three to four months ago and the suspects seemed trained. The RSS offfice in Delhi and the Delhi Police headquarters were on the radar, officials said. Meanwhile, according to PTI, crowded places and political personalities were the targets.

Among those arrested is an Amity University (Noida) civil engineering student, whereas five people each have been arrested from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. According to the NIA, raids were also conducted in Lucknow and Baxar and a woman suspect is also being interrogated. The agency also said that it has found incriminating documents against the suspects and the identity of the foreign handler would be revealed after verification.

The NIA also showed images of the recoveries made post the raid, during the press conference on Wednesday and a video showing a bomb-making module which the NIA claimed was in the voice of Mufti Sohail, who is touted to be the gang leader. Sohail, 29, reportedly stays in Delhi and is a native of Uttar Pradesh's Amroha where he works at a mosque.Mittal said that all those arrested were in the age group of 20 to 30 years and belonged to middle-income families. He told CNN-News18 that more arrests may take place soon in connection with the raids.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 26, 2018 18:43:30 IST