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NIA Raids 8 Places in Coimbatore Over Suspected Links with Lanka Easter Attacks

Top NIA officials told News18 that one of those raided was a Facebook friend of Zahran Hashim, the alleged mastermind of the Easter attacks.

Arunima | CNN-News18Arunima24

Updated:June 12, 2019, 5:44 PM IST
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NIA Raids 8 Places in Coimbatore Over Suspected Links with Lanka Easter Attacks
A two-member NIA team, headed by an inspector general, had left for Colombo last month to coordinate with the Sri Lankan authorities in the investigation into the attacks.

New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday raided eight locations in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore over a suspected link between an Islamic State (IS) module in Coimbatore and the Sri Lanka Easter attacks, which killed over 250 people.

Top NIA officials told News18 that one of those raided was a Facebook friend of Zahran Hashim, the alleged mastermind of the Easter attacks.

“He is a Facebook friend of Zahran but we will have to investigate if he ever met Zahran in person or if any instructions were given by Zahran to him to carry out terror-related activities,” the officer said.

Sources said the NIA, in its searches, had seized a laptop, digital and electronic devices and memory cards of those raided.

Officials told News18 that devices with speeches of Zahran stored were found from the suspects. "All the accused are highly radicalised and used to listen to Zahran's speeches,” an officer said.

The NIA had registered a fresh case against the Coimbatore ISIS module on June 1 after fresh leads emerged from Sri Lanka.

A two-member NIA team, headed by an inspector general, had left for Colombo last month to coordinate with the Sri Lankan authorities in the investigation into the attacks.

After preliminary investigations, officers said the suspects were young, highly radicalised and tech-savvy.

“They are in the 25-30 age group and are so tech-savvy that they have the ability to build complicated circuits just by watching internet tutorials on bomb making,” an official said.

Earlier, the NIA’s investigation in a separate ISIS Coimbatore case had led to a tip-off about Zahran’s plans to carry out bombings in Sri Lanka during Easter.

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