A suspected ISIS operative, who was arrested on Friday (August 21) following a brief exchange of fire in New Delhi’s Dhaula Kaun area, had planned terror strikes in high footfall areas of the national capital, Delhi Police said on Saturday (August 22).
Around two dozen National Security Guard (NSG) personnel, the Delhi Police’s Special Cell, and bomb detection and defusal teams had arrived near the Buddha Jayanti Park and caught the suspected ISIS militant.
He was identified as Mohammad Mustakeem Khan, alias Abu Yusuf, and was a resident of Balarampur in Uttar Pradesh.
Two pressure cooker improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were recovered from him.
The officials sealed off the entire Ridge Road area while the NSG team defused the two IEDs. They used a remote-controlled device to place the IEDs in a specially designed vehicle, while the bomb experts defused the explosives.
#WATCH Delhi: National Security Guard (NSG) commandos deployed near Buddha Jayanti Park in Ridge Road area, from where one ISIS operative was arrested with Improvised Explosive Device, earlier today. pic.twitter.com/9n7KGfOXZC
— ANI (@ANI) August 22, 2020
An official privy to the development, who wished to remain anonymous, told Hindustan Times that the defusal operation lasted for nearly three hours.
Calling him a “lone wolf” who had planned an attack in the national capital, P S Kushwaha, DCP (Special Cell) said, “Khan had planned a terror strike in the national capital on August 15, but could not do so due to heavy security arrangements.”
Khan had been under watch for the last one year, he told reporters. “Our operation had been on for the last one year,” Kushwaha said.
He said Khan was in touch with ISIS handlers who instructed him to plan terror strikes in India. According to news agency ANI, after observing his movement and finding out his plans, they had laid a trap and intercepted him while he was traveling on a motorcycle.
ANI also quoted an official as saying that the police and NSG personnel are carrying out search operations in several locations.
Meanwhile, the Delhi police said Khan was not been cooperating with the authorities in their interrogation and was reportedly misleading them by changing his statements.
According to Hindustan Times, special cell officials also said they have not yet established Khan’s correct residential address since he had given them three addresses — one each in Uttar Pradesh’s Balrampur and Ghaziabad, and another in Uttarakhand.
“We are verifying the addresses he has given,” DCP Kushwaha was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times. He added that the pistol recovered from the arrested man is of .30 bore.
Police further said they have found that Khan had been working with another associate, which was also being verified.
Following the arrest of Mohammad Mustakeem Khan in Delhi, the Uttar Pradesh government has tightened its security and has begun monitoring the movement of suspicious people.
The state police also sounded a statewide alert on Saturday, Prashant Kumar, additional director general (ADG) of police (law and order), told Hindustan Times.
Furthermore, a senior police official of Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) said a team of their members has been sent to Delhi to collect inputs about Khan’s future plans.