New Delhi: The rounding up of 16 members of ISIS-inspired ‘Harkat ul Harb e Islam‘ has led to the recovery of an astounding quantity handmade weapons, said reports on Wednesday. A locally made rocket launcher, material for suicide vests and 100 alarm clocks to be used as timers were recovered from the searches across 17 locations in Delhi and Meerut, Amroha and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, said National Investigation Agency (NIA) Inspector General and spokesperson Alok Mittal. (Also read: NIA Raids Houses in Coimbatore Over Alleged Plot to Kill Hindu Outfit Leaders)
Of the 16 people rounded up, the agency subsequently arrested 10 who would be produced before an NIA special court on Thursday. Five were arrested from Amroha and five from Seelampur and Jafrabad localities in northeast Delhi, he said. The agency said the “highly-radicalised module” was completely self-funded and no criminal antecedent of its members had surfaced so far.
These members were only waiting to assemble bombs and would’ve hit multiple locations, said the agency. “The members were in advanced stage of preparation… They wanted to hit multiple locations using remote-controlled IEDs, fidayeen attacks using suicide vests and pipe bombs,” Mittal told reporters.
Their alleged mastermind is 29-year Mohammed Sohail, a ‘mufti’ (Muslim legal expert empowered to give rulings on religious matters) from Amroha in western Uttar Pradesh, an engineering student in a private university in Noida and a third-year graduate student in humanities as well as two welders, he said. He added that the agency found a video where Sohail is demonstrating how to complete a bomb circuit.
The agency also recovered a yet to be tested rocket launcher, 12 locally made pistols, hundreds of live rounds of bullets, 100 mobiles and 135 SIM cards. There was also Rs 7.5 lakh in cash, 100 alarm clocks to be used as timer devices for bombs and 25 kilograms of bomb-making ingredients like potassium nitrate, potassium chlorate, sugar paste and sulphur.
On the initial investigation, Mittal said the suspects had done a recce of vital government installations and planned to target political personalities and other important persons. “The level of preparation showed they were planning to carry out fidayeen attacks in near future,” he said. According to investigations, the module was founded three-four months ago by Sohail who brought all its members together.
They remained in touch through WhatsApp and telegram. Surveillance of suspected members of the group started after the agency got inputs about their plans. Seeing their alarming pace of progress, the agency had to rope in Delhi Police’s Special Cell and Uttar Pradesh Police’s Anti-Terrorist Squad to bust the gang.
The NIA said while it believed the module has foreign-based handler (s), their identity and location was still being probed. “So far, no criminal record of any of the arrested members of the module has surfaced. It looks like they were self-trained and self-motivated through the internet,” Mittal said.