AL QAEDA .. Three migrant workers here and six from West Bengal arrested by NIA for plotting Al Qaeda terror attacks


KOCHI: Three Al Qaeda operatives have been arrested in late night raids here by the National Investigating Agency Friday night. These men from West Bengal were suspected to have planned attacks on the Kochi Naval base the shipyard and other central government installations here as well as other places. 

In all, nine terror module operators have been arrested by simultaneous raids by the NIA here as also in West Bengal, official sources revealed to the media on Saturday.

The Al Qaeda operative were planning attacks in New Delhi and some other places, reports from Kolkata said, adding that the arrests of six men were made from Murshidabad in the state. The alert on the presence of Al Qaeda in the subcontinent –Pakistan, India and Bangladesh – came first from UN recently, and this put the Indian government on the additional alert. The UN report specifically mentioned Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as areas where activities were going on.

Official sources said the three men who took accommodation in Kochi’s Pathalam area were mixing with the migrant labour to give an impression they were casual labourers. Alongside, they were busy on the internet, collecting arms etc and strategizing attacks by collecting information about the shipyard area etc.

Officials said all the three arrested in Kochi were here in the form of migrant labour, from West Bengal but engaged in terror-related activities. One of them was staying and working here for the past seven years. One worked in a textile shop, one at a tea stall, and another did odd works. One of the three lived with his family for the past two years, officials said after investigations.

It is not clear whether the state police or its intelligence operatives had any inkling about what was happening around. State police chief Loknath Behera was quoted as saying the intelligence department and the state police are offering full cooperation to the NIA in this respect.

BJP state president K Surendran alleged that earlier warnings from BJP about presence of Al Qaeda operatives in Kerala were ignored by the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government. This is the first time Al Qaeda operatives were arrested from the state, he noted. IHN-NN


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