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NIA busts Islamic State’s Kerala module that planned attacks in south India

With Sunday’s arrest of six people, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) claimed to have busted a Kerala module of the extremist outfit Islamic State.

india Updated: Oct 03, 2016 19:44 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times
Islamic State,Kerala,Terror strikes
The Islamic State’s Kerala module, called Ansarul Khalifa, was planning to carry out a series of attacks in south India.(Reuters File Photo)

With Sunday’s arrest of six people, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) claimed to have busted a Kerala module of the extremist outfit Islamic State.

The module, named Ansarul Khalifa, was planning to carry out a series of attacks in south India.

According to intelligence agencies, one of the module’s key operatives, Manseed, 29, using the name Omar Al Hindi, was actively recruiting youth online for the IS. Besides luring people to migrate to trouble-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, he formed a module to carry out terrorist activities inside the country.

At least 24 people actively participated in the discreet online discussions, and intelligence agencies were able to infiltrate the module during these discussions.

The IS module was planning to target vital installations in the port city of Kochi, sources said. However, the NIA is yet to find a link between the module and the 21 people from the state who are believed to have joined the IS three months back.

The NIA had apprehended the six operatives during a meeting of the group at a hilltop shrine in north Kerala’s Panur, allegedly plotting to attack important people and key installations during Diwali, later this month. The module had entrusted two members to collect explosive material and detonators for this.

Electronic devices and other materials were recovered in the raid.

Sources said the module also planned another attack using heavy vehicles to run over people in busy places. All the arrested were in the 24-30 years age group. The NIA said more arrests are likely in the coming days.

After questioning those arrested, another person was apprehended from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu. Suhani, 31, also from Kerala, fled to the neighbouring state when some of his associates were arrested.

Relatives of some of the accused have claimed they are innocent and were being framed by the NIA to show Kerala in bad light. Though the state has never witnessed a major terror attack, it has turned a haven for subversive forces.

First Published: Oct 03, 2016 19:44 IST