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Prime Accused in UP Al Qaeda Case a ‘Diploma Holder, Was Asked to Collect Bombs’

Representational image. (News18)

Representational image. (News18)

The ATS had nabbed two terrorists from the Kakori area of the city on Sunday.

After the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) busted a terror module linked to Al-Qaeda in Lucknow on Sunday, sources said on Monday the main-accused came in contact with the handler a year-and-a-half ago, and had been asked to assemble bombs with commonly available ingredients.

The ATS had nabbed two terrorists from the Kakori area of the city on Sunday, and a team of the squad had launched a search operation in the area. The two suspects were taken in custody on Sunday for interrogation.

The UP ATS on Monday also got remand of the two accused; and a 14-day remand period will start from Tuesday.

Sources have revealed that the main accused is well-educated; and holds a diploma. He was earlier working as a lab technician and later ran a battery shop.

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An improvised explosive device has also been found at the hideout being search, showing the use of potassium nitrate and phosphorus in the terror operations.

During the preliminary questioning, the accused said that he had informed his handler, that obtaining phosphorus was difficult. He had thus been asked to source the compound from match sticks, the accused said.

He has also revealed the names of more people who were part of the same ring, and police is currently on their lookout.

The ATS had received information that an Al-Qaeda terrorist based near Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Umar Halmandi, was trying to recruit Indian youths for the terror outfit. Halmandi had identified a few marginalised people in Lucknow to radicalise and recruit them into the AQIS organisation.

This module was being readied under Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH), an offshoot of Al Qaeda, which has been set up to carry out terror activities, the police said in a press release.

Those arrested were identified as Minhaz Ahmed and Masiruddin aka Mushir. A third accomplice was identified as Shakeel. The three were receiving instructions from Halmandi to carry out terror activities in various cities of Uttar Pradesh, including Lucknow, before August 15, police said.

Minhaz and Masiruddin were apprehended on Sunday after ATS commandos surrounded the house, they had gathered in, from all sides. The bomb disposal squad was also called in to the spot. In this operation being led by IG GK Goswami, two pressure cooker bombs, time bombs and a huge cache of arms have been recovered so far.

As per sources, the ATS was keeping an eye on this house, which belongs to a person named Shahid, for a long time due to suspicious activities of visitors, especially one named Waseem.

The ATS had started the search operation on Sunday after the information was confirmed. Local police were also present on the spot. The ATS sealed the Kakori area and evacuated the nearby houses.

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first published:July 12, 2021, 17:01 IST