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NIA arrests nine suspected al-Qaeda operatives in Kerala, West Bengal

Switches, batteries and other items used to assemble IEDs recovered from the house of suspected al-Qaeda operative Abu Sufiyan’s house by National Investigation Agency in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district on September 19, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Nine “al-Qaeda terrorists” were arrested in simultaneous raids at several locations in Ernakulam, Kerala, and Murshidabad in West Bengal on Saturday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said.

The accused were associated with a “Pakistan-sponsored module of the Al-Qaeda”, the agency said.

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Murshid Hasan, Iyakub Biswas and Mosaraf Hossen were picked up from Ernakulam, while Najmus Sakib, Abu Sufiyan, Mainul Mondal, Leu Yean Ahmed, Al Mamun Kamal and Atitur Rehman were held in Murshidabad.

“The 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 with an aim to kill innocent people and strike terror in their minds,” the NIA said in a statement.

A large quantity of incriminating material, including digital devices, documents, jehadi literature, sharp weapons, country-made firearms, a locally fabricated body armour, articles and literature used for making home-made explosive devices have been seized from their possession, the NIA stated.

(Clockwise from top left) Murshid Hasan, Mosaraf Hossen, Abu Sufiyan, and Leu Yean Ahmed

(Clockwise from top left) Murshid Hasan, Mosaraf Hossen, Abu Sufiyan, and Leu Yean Ahmed  

“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 statement said.

Produced before courts

The accused were produced before the courts concerned in Kerala and West Bengal for custody and further investigation, the NIA added.

The raids in Ernakulam were conducted in a joint operation involving the anti-terrorism squad and nearly 30 personnel of the Ernakulam Rural wing of the Kerala police and the NIA. 

The operation began around 2 a.m. Murshid Hasan was held from the Pathalam industrial area, while Iyakub Biswas and Mosaraf Hossen were arrested from Perumbavoor near Aluva. 

The police said Hasan reached Pathalam after the lockdown restrictions were eased. Iyakub Biswas was working in a hotel at Perumbavoor. Mosaraf Hossen has been settled in Perumbavoor with his family for the last 10 years. The accused had taken up various jobs at construction sites and factories, they said.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in Thiruvananthapuram that the arrest of suspected al-Qaeda operatives posed no immediate security threat to Kerala.

(With inputs from Kochi)

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 2:46:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nia-arrests-nine-suspected-al-qaeda-operatives-in-kerala-and-wb/article32646533.ece

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