After IS arrest, Kerala on edge ahead of Ramzan, Thrissur Pooram
The arrested terrorist, Riyas Abookacker, a native of Palakkad, reportedly told the NIA that he was ready for a suicide attack in Kerala but his friends had let him down by not providing explosives and logistic support.Updated: May 03, 2019, 19:36 IST
The Kerala police has beefed up security in the port city of Kochi and Thrissur where the state’s biggest cultural festival ‘Thrissur Pooram’ is scheduled in ten days, after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) broke up a module of terror outfit Islamic State in Kerala with the arrest of a suspected terrorist on April 29, a senior official said.
The arrested terrorist, Riyas Abookacker, a native of Palakkad, reportedly told the NIA that he was ready for a suicide attack in Kerala but his friends had let him down by not providing explosives and logistic support.
Following his interrogation, the NIA had raided many suspected hideouts in Tamil Nadu in the last two days and seized incriminating documents, sources with the NIA said adding at least 60 people from both states, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, were under observation.
During interrogation, Riyas reportedly admitted that he had been following the speeches of Zahran Hashim, the mastermind behind the Lankan bombings, for more than a year and he was eager to carry out a terror attack in a tourist spot in Kerala, where foreigners were frequent visitors.
It was also found that he was in touch with Abdul Raashid from north Kerala who reportedly joined the IS three years ago, through encrypted social network Telegram. Raashid had earlier sent a fiery speech exhorting his supporters to attack soft targets in Kerala, including the Thrissur Pooram festival.
Following the revelations made by Riyas, police have combed hotels, home stays and resorts in Kochi. “We are on high alert and co-coordinating with central agencies well,” a senior police officer said. Though the NIA detained two more people from north Kerala’s Kasargode they were let off later for lack of evidence. But it could not locate a person from south Kerala’s Kollam who was closely associated with Riyas.
Meanwhile a car seized from Kollam (south Kerala) carrying the photo of late Al Qaida chief Osama bin Laden has created a flutter. The vehicle had a registration number of West Bengal and the owner was taken into custody later. The owner told the police that he bought the car from a man in West Bengal and put Laden’s sticker just for fun. “The ownership certificate of the vehicle was not changed. We have questioned him for two days. So far we could not find anything incriminating,” Iravipuram Circle Inspector P Anil Kumar said.