Delhi Police’s expanded net to catch al Qaeda suspects snared one more on Wednesday night when a building material supplier was picked up in Uttar Pradesh’s Sambhal district.
Sources said a team of Delhi Police raided the locality on Wednesday night and arrested 40-year-old Jafar Masood in the Deepa Sarai locality for his alleged links with suspected al Qaeda operative Asif, who was held on Monday in the national capital.
Asif, who headed an active module of the international terror network in Delhi, belongs to Sambhal.
The locality was in the news after the terrorist attack on Delhi’s Red Fort in 2000. A couple of suspects arrested thereafter were from Deepa Sarai.
Sambhal police, however, denied any information about Masood’s arrest.
Police said the 41-year-old Asif was sent to India by al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri in September 2014 to oversee the group’s recruitment in the country. Trained in terror activities in Miran Shah along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Asif was arrested on the Seelampur flyover in Delhi where he had gone to meet a contact.
Asif’s arrest helped Delhi Police nab another suspected al Qaeda operative, 37-year-old Abdur Rehman, who was a running a madrasa or Islamic seminary in Odisha’s Cuttack district where most of his students are said to be from Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that Rehman worked as an organiser, felicitator and recruiter of al Qaeda’s Indian wing,” Bhubaneswar police commissioner RP Sharma said.
The global terror outfit’s presence was felt in India after a video declaring the constitution of the al Qaeda Indian Sub-continent (AQ-IS) was posted by the organisation’s media arm, al Shahab, in September 2014.
(With inputs from HTC Bhubaneswar, New Delhi)