Friday - August 18th, 2017

Two suspected al Qaeda members arrested in Delhi ahead of I-Day celebrations


Two alleged al Qaeda linked ‘militants’ have been arrested in Delhi in different joint operations of central agencies, the Delhi Police and West Bengal police a week ahead of the Independence Day celebrations.

One of the two, identified as Syed Mohammed Zishan Ali, was arrested by the Delhi Police from the Delhi airport after being brought back from Saudi Arabia. Sources said Ali was wanted by the Indian agencies for more than a year.

A native of Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, Ali and his brother Syed Mohammed Arshiyan were allegedly operating from Saudi Arabia. Sources said Ali is married to the sister of Sabeel Ahmed, a cousin of the 2007 Glasgow International Airport (UK) attack mastermind Kafeel Ahmed. Kafeel had moved from Bengaluru to Saudi Arabia in 2010-11.

The two brothers were on the central intelligence agencies radar ever since their names surfaced during the interrogation of some members of the Indian sub-continent module of Al Qaeda (AQIS), including Cuttack-based cleric Abdul Rehman. These members were arrested in 2015 for their alleged role in planning some terror strikes in the country, police said.

In another operation, a 25-year-old suspected member of al Qaeda was arrested last week by the Delhi Police special cell. The arrested ‘militant’ is from Bangladesh and is an active member of AQIS, special cell officials said.

MM Oberoi, joint commissioner of police (special cell) confirmed that their team arrested Raja-ul-Ahmed on inputs shared with them by the West Bengal police that was already looking for the wanted al Qaeda-linked ‘terrorist’. Oberoi, however, refused to share details related to the date and place of Ahmed’s arrest in Delhi.

“The entire operation was of the West Bengal police and we only helped them nab the suspect. All we can share is that the Bengal Police shared specific information about the location of the suspect. Our team raided the place and arrested him,” Oberai said, adding that Ahmed was handed over to the West Bengal police soon after they arrived in Delhi.

Sources said central intelligence and security agencies were also informed about Ahmed’s arrest. His joint interrogation was done while he remained in the custody of the special cell.

“Ahmed was grilled about his purpose of visit to Delhi to find out if he was sent to the city by his handlers in al Qaeda to carry out terror activities in the capital during the Independence Day celebrations,” a source in the special cell said.

Officials alleged that Ahmed is originally a member of Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), an al Qaeda inspired Islamic extremist group in Bangladesh. They said ATB is a sub-module of AQIS. His interrogation has revealed that he was planning to fell to Nepal.

It has also been learnt that Ahmed was also allegedly instrumental in pushing fake Indian currency notes, allegedly printed in Pakistan and supplied by ISI, into India through porous Indo-Bangladesh borders in West Bengal. The West Bengal police was reportedly looking for Ahmed for his alleged role in smuggling of fake Indian banknotes into India from Bangladesh.

Al Qaeda is an international terror group that was founded by slain terrorist Osama bin Laden. The group was behind the 9/11 attacks on World Trade Center in New York and Pentagon, the headquarters of the United States defence department.

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