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NIA arrests 9 suspected Al Qaeda operatives for ‘planning terror attacks’

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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday arrested nine suspected Al Qaeda operatives for allegedly planning a terror strike in various parts of the country at the behest of handlers from Pakistan.

The agency swooped down on the group operating out of Murshidabad in West Bengal and Ernakulam in Kerala in an early morning raid, and has recovered country made pistols, a rudimentary body armour, literature on home made IEDs and other “incriminating material”.

Five of the nine arrested

Sources said the raids were carried out based on intelligence inputs which suggested the group was in preparation for an attack. The members had been kept under surveillance for the past few months.

“NIA had learnt about an inter-state module of Al-Qaeda operatives at various locations in India including West-Bengal and Kerala. The group was planning to undertake terrorist attacks at vital installations in India with an aim to kill innocent people and strike terror in their minds,” NIA said in a statement. Following the inputs, the agency registered an FIR on September 11 and arrested the accused on Saturday.

The agency claimed to have recovered “large quantity of digital devices, documents, jihadi literature, sharp weapons, country-made firearms, a locally fabricated body armour, articles and literature used for making home-made explosive devices” from the accused.

“As per preliminary investigation, these individuals were radicalised by Pakistan-based Al-Qaeda terrorists on social media and were motivated to undertake attacks at multiple places including the National Capital Region. For this purpose, the module was actively indulging in fund raising and a few members of gang were planning to travel to New Delhi to procure arms and ammunition. These arrests have pre-empted possible terrorist attacks in various parts of the country,” the NIA said.

The accused from Kerala have been identified as Murshid Hasan, Iyakub Biswa and Mosaraf Hossen. Those from West Bengal have been identified as Najmus Sakib, Abu Sufiyan, Mainul Mondal, Leu Yean Ahmed, Al Mamun Kamal and Atitur Rehman.

The accused will be produced before concerned courts in Kerala and West Bengal for police custody and further investigation, the NIA said.

Indian express

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