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Al-Qaeda terrorists nabbed by NIA used dark web: Probe

NEW DELHI, SEP 20 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 9/20/2020 12:28:45 PM IST

NIA swooped down on eleven different locations in West Bengal and Kerala to arrest nine terrorists, on Saturday morning. Officials have revealed that two other suspected terrorists managed to evade arrest while the rest are now in custody.

A probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has revealed that Pakistan-based Al-Qaeda recruited the said terrorists through the dark web. Following their radicalizations, members of the module were instructed to launch a terror attack on government and security installations in Delhi-NCR, Bihar and Bengaluru. Both Kerala and Kolkata Police apart from the Border Security Force (BSF) aided the NIA given the magnitude of the conspiracy. A highly-placed source told India Today that Murshid Hasan alias Sofiq was the leader of this terror module while his close confidante Mosaraf Hoseen was in touch with handlers in Pakistan. 

The NIA found that Mosaraf used encrypted communication platforms to contact his Pakistan-based handler ‘Hamza’.

Murshid Hasan had communicated to his handler about his scheduled visit to ‘Thanda Ilqa’, a reference of Kashmir valley. 

The leader of this terror outfit had planned to receive an arms and ammunition consignment from handler Hamza’s contact. As per inputs, these weapons were to be dropped from across the International Border (IB) using drones which is in line with the modus-operandi of Pakistani intelligence agencies.

The terror module had been under surveillance for about one month. Arrests came when the NIA was able to confirm that they were on their way to Kashmir using different modes of travel, a source added. The terrorists had planned to travel to Delhi via taxi and later board an inter-state bus for J&K.

Investigators have also revealed that the terrorists were asked to leave their phones behind before making the trip. There is no clarity though as to how the men would reach their destination or communicate with their Pakistan-based Al-Qaeda handlers without the use of a smartphone.

One source in the Jammu and Kashmir Police indicated that the force had no knowledge of this conspiracy. Sources in the NIA, however, said information regarding the module and its activities will be shared with the J&K Police in due course of time.

Meanwhile, all of the nine terrorists are being brought to Delhi for interrogation.

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