4 Sri Lankan ISIS terrorists arrested in India were planning major attack – report

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –  Four ISIS terrorists were arrested in Ahmedabad yesterday, days after the city airport received a bomb threat. The terrorists – believed to be Sri Lankan nationals – were arrested by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad after a tip-off.

Giving details of the operation to arrest the four ISIS terrorists, police said multiple teams were formed after the officials received the information that the suspects were planning to travel to Ahmedabad to carry out terror attacks in India.

Vikash Sahay, Director General of Police, Gujarat, said these four terrorists had boarded an IndiGo flight bound for Ahmedabad from Chennai yesterday. “The arrests were made after checking the list of passengers coming from the Southern region and getting their identities confirmed by officials in Colombo,” he said.

Police said the four men “had been in touch with a man named Abu in Pakistan through social media”.

“Abu encouraged them to carry out a terror attack in India. They were so radicalised that they also agreed to suicide bombing. Pakistani resident Abu also gave them Rs. 4 lakh in Sri Lankan currency,” Mr Sahay said.

Police said after scanning their mobile phones, they found photographs of some weapons and location data of Nanachiloda near Ahmedabad.

“The ATS later recovered three Pakistani pistols and 20 cartridges, as indicated in the photographs, from Nanachiloda area,” officials said.

The weapons were arranged by their Pakistani handler, they said.

They were also communicating with the ISIS leaders through Proton Mail, an end-to-end encrypted email service, officials said.

Officials said the suspects – Mohammad Nusrat (33), Mohammad Farish (35), Mohammad Nafran (27) and Mohammad Rashdeen (43) – wanted to “teach a lesson” to Jews, Christians and the members of the BJP and RSS.

“Evidence showing their commitment to join ISIS and follow the path shown by former ISIS Chief Abu Bakr Baghdadi,” they said.

The Ahmedabad airport on May 12 received a bomb threat email which turned out to be a hoax after security personnel searched the airport complex, but nothing suspicious was found.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan intelligence agencies have launched a fresh probe into the ISIS activities on the island nation following the arrest of the four suspected ISIS terrorists, all natives of Sri Lanka, from the Ahmedabad airport.

Sources said that Sri Lanka’s State Intelligence has requested for more details from their Indian counterparts to identify the background of arrested suspects in Ahmedabad and their alleged links to ISIS.

Sri Lanka’s Public Security Minister Tiran Alles told the media that the country’s security agencies are taking the developments quite seriously and are closely monitoring the situation.

“We are working in close coordination with our Indian counterparts to ensure that all necessary measures are taken to address any potential threat,” Alles told the media.

Five years ago, a group of Islamic State bombers carried out a series of suicide attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing 270 people, including 45 foreigners, and injuring over 500.

Weeks before the coordinated bomb attacks on three churches and several hotels, the Indian intelligence agencies had alerted their Sri Lankan counterparts about the Islamic State’s plan to carry out such suicide missions.

However, in a major security lapse, the Sri Lankan authorities ignored the warnings.

They later admitted to receiving an “intelligence brief” from India about six terrorists planning a suicide attack on some important churches in the country.

Source: NDTV / IANS

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