An active module of international terror network al Qaeda was busted with the arrest of Mohammed Asif, the head of its India operations, in the Capital, police said on Wednesday.
Asif’s arrest on Monday yielded intel that led to another suspected al Qaeda operative, Rehman, being nabbed in Odisha’s Cuttack on Wednesday. The special cell of Delhi police that coordinated the operation with the UP anti-terror squad, Odisha police as well as central intelligence agencies claimed to have busted what was termed the al Qaeda Indian Subcontinent Module (AQIS).
Asif, 41, hailing from UP’s Sambhal district, was purportedly sent to India by al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri in September last year to pursue the organisation’s objectives by recruiting more youths.
Asif, trained in terrorist activities in Miran Shah along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, was arrested from the Seelampur flyover where he had gone to meet a contact. Three mobile phones, a laptop and other incriminating articles were seized from his possession, Arvind Deep, special commissioner of police, special cell, said.
The global terror outfit’s presence was felt in India after a video declaring the constitution of the AQIS was posted by the organisation’s media arm al Shahab in September last year.
“Since one Maulana Asim Umar was declared the head of the AQIS, it was imperative that Indian characters of this terrorist outfit be quickly identified for initiating appropriate counter-terrorist measures,” a police official said.
Inputs were received about movements of several people out of India towards West Asian countries from UP, which led intelligence agencies to Asif.