New Delhi: In a nationwide crackdown, the NIA on Saturday arrested 8 more ISIS sympathisers. The remaining five were arrested on Friday. This development comes in wake of the impending visit of French President Francois Hollande on January 26.
The suspected ISIS sympathisers were arrested after raids in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi and Uttarakhand. NIA sources said the arrested suspects are believed to have been radicalised by ISIS propaganda material.
According to sources, internet conversations show the terrorists were planning to set up a training camp.
Materials used to assemble improvised explosive device (IEDs) were recovered from Hyderabad, Mumbai and Uttarakhand, the sources added.
Intelligence sources said that Indian Mujahideen terrorists in Syria and Iraq have been recruiting for ISIS in India since 2014 in states like Maharashtra, Andhra, Delhi, UP and Karnataka.
The outfit currently has as many as 60 active operatives in India. Sources added that the terrorists have plans to target places of religious significance like the ongoing Ardh Kumbh in Haridwar and Goa where there are a high number of foreigners.
It is also learnt that the detained suspects were planning to carry out simultaneous attacks across the country. The central agencies feared the possibility of a Paris or Jakarta-style terror attack.
The arrest of six suspected terrorists in Karnataka comes days after the arrest of a madrassa teacher from Bengaluru for suspected links with al-Qaeda.
The office of the Consulate General of France also received a threat letter against French President Francois Hollande’s proposed visit to India on the occasion of the Republic Day. Among those arrested, four were from Bengaluru, one from Tumkuru and one was from Hubballi.
In Delhi, police has issued an alert after the driver of a taxi hired by three unidentified persons from Pathankot was found dead in Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh. The taxi driver, identified as Vijay Kumar, a resident of Gaggal village in Kangra district, was found dead on Wednesday at the Kalta bridge in Kangra and his taxi was missing.
The alert was issued in the backdrop of the attack on IAF base in Pathankot where terrorists had first killed a cab driver and robbed his car before launching the strike.