The National Intelligence Agency (NIA), on June 29 arrested five men and detained six others including a techie in Hyderabad in an attempt to capture a “terror module” that is suspected to be involved with the Islamic State (IS) after carrying out raids at different locations in the city.
NIA claimed that the arrested men were members of an Islamic State unit that was working under the command of the head of a group of Indian Jihadists based out of Raqqa in Syria, Muhammad Shafi Armar.
A senior official stated, “Based on credible information that some youths hailing from Hyderabad and their accomplices have entered into the criminal conspiracy to wage war against India by collecting weapons and explosive materials to commit terrorist acts, the searches were conducted at least 10 locations since early hours of today with assistance of Hyderabad Police”.
“Evidence from the premises we raided leaves no doubt attacks were imminent,” a senior officer stated. “The intelligence services had been monitoring this cell for some time, so we were able to pre-empt what could have been fairly serious bloodshed,” he added.
According to NIA sources, the group’s purchases of fertiliser, made two weeks ago, were vital to the agency’s decision to push the arrests forward. The NIA teams confiscated two Chinese-made 9mm pistols, believed to have been procured from Nanded in Maharashtra, Rs 15 lakh pen drives, laptops, cash, mobile phones, two gas stoves, a heater timer, a condenser, a pressure meter,two clocks, 3 litres of paint masks and two gloves. Forged identity documents and details about creating explosives were also taken.
The main suspect, as described by NIA, Mohammed Iliyas Yazdani, 24, is a Commerce student who left college and started an agency that provides services in procuring PAN cards and birth certificates. The other four detained are his brothers, computer science graduate Habeeb Mohammed, 32; Mohammed Irfan alias YaqaisIrfan, 27, who just finished his matriculation; software engineer Mohammed Ibrahim Yazdani, 30; and management graduate Abdullah Bin Ahmed Al-Amoodi alias Fahad, 31.
It is believed that similar to other Islamic State cells arrested in recent months, the Hyderabad group is also alleged to have made online contact early this year with Muhammad Shafi Armar, who hails from Karnataka, an Indian fugitive, Mujahideen operative, now leading a group of Indians fighting with the IS.
The suspects of ages between 20 and 42 were allegedly plotting attacks on crowded places in the city, NIA sources said.