LeT bid to blow up Ellora foiled

A group of LeT terrorists was planning to launch an attack on Ellora caves.

india Updated: May 10, 2006 21:12 IST

The uncovering of a major strike in the vicinity of the ancient Ellora caves has led police officials to suspect that the heritage monument could be a terror target.

Three suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists were arrested by the Mumbai Police's Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) in Aurangabad on Tuesday along with a huge cache of arms and explosives just 3 km from the caves.

The trio was arrested in the operation conducted in Aurangabad, 350 km from Mumbai, by the ATS along with the Delhi Police.

Police claimed to have seized 10 AK-47 assault rifles and 30 kg of RDX and 2,000 rounds of live cartridges from the suspects.

"The Ellora caves are known internationally to be symbolic of the spirit of tolerance of ancient India and thus could be the reason for being a terror target," a senior police official said.

"However, we cannot confirm anything before a thorough investigation," he said.

According to officials, the team was working on specific intelligence that a group of LeT terrorists was planning to launch a terror attack on the Ellora caves.

These caves house 34 Hindu, Buddhist and Jain monasteries and temples dug side by side in the wall of a high basalt cliff between AD 600 to 1000.

Apart from Aurangabad, a search operation was also carried out at an undisclosed place in Mumbai on Tuesday night but nothing was recovered.

According to officials, the suspects were trying to flee with the arms in a Tata Sumo, that was also seized.

One of the three arrested was identified as Amir Shakeel Ahmed. The raids were conducted after a tip-off by the Delhi Police following the killing of a LeT terrorist there on Monday.

First Published: May 10, 2006 19:14 IST