India: 10 suspected suicide attack plotters arrested
10 members planned to launch suicide attacks next month
NEW DELHI: Ten people suspected of planning imminent suicide attacks in the New Delhi region appeared in court in the capital yesterday, India's federal counter-terrorism agency said.
Members of the three-month-old militant group Harkat ul Harb-e-Islam, which had links to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), were arrested in raids in Delhi and nearby cities on Wednesday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said.
It was not immediately clear whether they would be represented in court.
The agency said it had recovered about 25kg of explosives material, such as potassium nitrate and ammonium nitrate, as well as 12 pistols, a home-made rocket launcher and ISIS-related literature.
According to media reports, the Interior Ministry had written to state authorities in June about an all-time high threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the next general election, which must be held by May.
The NIA said the main suspect arrested, a Muslim cleric, and his associates had procured weapons and explosive material to produce bombs and planned to carry out attacks at crowded places in and around Delhi.
The cleric, 29, was working at a madrasa in Amroha, a town in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
The suspects include three Delhi students, three shopkeepers and an auto rickshaw driver.
NIA spokesman Alok Mittal said arms and ammunition were recovered from the raids over 17 locations, including New Delhi, as the group prepped for striking several targets ahead of the high-profile Republic Day national event on Jan 26.
"They were at an advanced stage of carrying (out) a series of blasts," Mr Mittal told reporters at a press conference in New Delhi. "They wanted to explode remote-controlled bombs and even conduct fidayeen (suicide) attacks."
Mr Mittal said the group had attempted to make suicide vests and developed a homemade rocket launcher, adding that the unknown mastermind of the module was based abroad. - AFP, REUTERS