12 pistols, 100 phones and 135 SIM cards were also recovered from the terror suspects
An ISIS-inspired terror module, which was planning major attacks on VIPs and at public places in north India, especially Delhi, has been busted with the arrest of 10 suspects, the country's premier investigation agency NIA said today. The suspects were planning to attack the police headquarters in Delhi and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS offices on Republic Day, sources said. Among those arrested are the alleged mastermind of 'Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam', a cleric who stayed in Delhi, a civil engineer, college student and a welding expert.
"The gang leader of the module is called Mufti Sohail who stays in Delhi and is a native of Amroha in UP where he works at a mosque… Their targets were political persons and other important personalities and vital and security installations," said NIA Inspector General Alok Mittal.
Calling these suspects "highly radicalised", the NIA in a press briefing said this terror module had been operating for the last four months and was planning suicide attacks and remote controlled bomb blasts.
The NIA said they have recovered a country-made rocket launcher during raids in Delhi. 12 pistols, 25 kg of chemicals which would have been used to make explosives, bulletproof vest, over 100 alarm clocks which can be used to make timers in bombs, more than 100 mobile phones – used as remote detonation devices – and 135 SIM cards were also seized during the raids at 17 different locations in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
"Searches have been conducted in Delhi's Seelampur and UP's Amroha, Hapur, Meerut and Lucknow. Large quantities of explosive material, weapons and ammunition including a country made rocket launcher have been recovered so far," Mr Mittal said in his press briefing this evening.
A video of a bomb being made was also seized during the searches.
The module was in touch with foreign handlers, whose identity is yet to be established, he added. The suspects used to communicate on messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram.
"Level of preparation suggests their aim was to carry out explosions in near future by remote control blasts amd fidayeen attacks. This is a new ISIS inspired module, they were in touch with a foreign agent. Identities are yet to be established," he said.
Five suspects were arrested from Delhi and five from Uttar Pradesh after raids were conducted at 17 different locations. The group had been under NIA surveillance for some time now, officials said.