: Islamic State (IS) handlers operating from abroad could have planned to use some of the 11 persons detained by National Investigation Agency officials on Wednesday to carry out lone wolf attack in the city.
Intelligence officials interrogating the 11 suspects feel the possibility cannot be ruled out, though they could not stumble upon any conclusive evidence to confirm it. Several terror-related modules were busted by different law-enforcing agencies in and around Hyderabad, but it was rare that the suspects had secured firearms.
“Normally, explosive materials are sent to members of a terror group to prepare bombs and ask them to detonate at targeted places. In this case, somehow, two pistols were found in the possession of a person,” an officer unwilling to be quoted said. A target board, an air gun, and some pellets were also recovered from him.
Apparently, the suspects wanted to practice shooting with the air gun and familiarise themselves with usage of pistols. However, the firearms were country-made. It is not yet clear from whom they secured the pistols. They had material to prepare Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) which can be planted at public places, the officer said.
In earlier terror attacks, detonation of IEDs was the main means adopted by terrorists to cause huge human loss. Terrorist outfits like the Indian Mujahideen, Laskhar-e-Taiba, and the Jaish-e-Mohammed indulged in carrying out blasts, but instances of their operatives attacking people with firearms were rare.
It was clear that Syria-based IS handlers were luring the 11 suspects to join the group. Many individuals owing allegiance to IS or supporting their fight had carried out lone wolf attacks — springing up at public places and shooting at people with firearms — in different parts of the world recently.
Even the IS indirectly supported and encouraged this mode of ‘terrorising opponents’. “It is not yet clear whether they planned to carry out multiple blasts at different places in the communally sensitive city and use the firearms to randomly fire at panicked people,” a city police officer said.