The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is probing al Qaeda for carrying out serial blasts in Bodh Gaya after key Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Yasin Bhatkal told interrogators that Ayman al-Zawahiri-led global terror outfit already has a group operating in India, a counter terror official familiar with the details of Bhatkal’s interrogation told HT.
“Yasin Bhatkal says an al Qaeda module is already active in India. According to Yasin, Naib Ameer or deputy chief of IM Riyaz Bhatkal was informed about the presence of the al Qaeda group in India by a senior associate of Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan in March this year. Riyaz along with his associate Mirza Shadab Beg had met Zawahiri’s associate to offer IM’s services for jehad in India,” said the counter terror official requesting anonymity.
Counter terror sources say al Qaeda had been planning revenge attacks for alleged atrocities on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar for quite some time in many countries. Within a month of the Bodh Gaya serial blasts on July 7, a Buddhist temple was targeted in Indonesia, signalling a possible multinational operation in progress, which is a hallmark of Al Qaeda.
“After Yasin’s disclosure, the NIA is probing al Qaeda’s role in the Bodh Gaya strikes. But the agency has also not ruled out involvement of IM and LeT as well,” said the official.