New Delhi: The suspected Islamic State terrorists arrested by the National Investigation Agency were collecting chemicals used in matchsticks and explosive of firecrackers for the past seven months with an aim to launch attacks in different parts of the country, officials said.
The preliminary reports of the explosive seized from the arrested suspects indicate that the chemicals are potassium chlorate and potassium nitrate, said one of the officials, who did not wish to be identified, TOI reported.
The NIA has recently arrested 16 people on suspicion of being part of the IS module that was recruited online. While potassium chlorate is used at the tip of matchstick, potassium nitrate is commonly used in firecrackers.
“Due to the recent restrictions by the government on purchase of ammonium nitrate, the modus operandi of the group here appears to be to collect the other easily available explosives,” said a senior official. The final laboratory report is still awaited, he said. The module headed by Mumbra-based Mudabbir
Mushtaq Shaikh has instructed others to collect matchbox and firecrackers and use the low grade explosives to make bombs, another person said. At the time of the arrests, the NIA claimed to have seized materials used for making improvised explosives devices (IEDs) including timers from Mumbai and Hyderabad.
The group, according to investigators, was learning bomb-making techniques from al-Qaida’s Inspire magazine which is available online and teaches how to make IEDs from easily available chemicals. Earlier, the homegrown jihadis of Indian Mujahideen (IM) used to rely on commonly available ammonium nitrate that was used in blasts in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Jaipur in 2008.
The handler of the IS module in India, Shafi Armar is a former IM member who is now associated with IS chief Abu-Bakr-Al-Baghdadi, another official said. The NIA has also identified three youths from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana who are believed to be fighting with IS in Syria.