The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is likely to take the five ISIS moles who were arrested in Hyderabad last Wednesday to Delhi, Rajasthan and Maharashtra soon to unearth who helped them in procuring funds and weapons to carry out deadly attacks in the country. The agency on Friday detained another accused, Mohammad Nizamuddin, 29, in Hyderabad for associating with the five.

With this, the total number of youth held by the NIA in the city rose to six, apart from the five arrested. The six were not yet arrested as they were just called for day-long interrogation at the NIA’s hideout at a guesthouse on the city’s outskirts. A team of NIA, Hyderabad police and the IB (Intelligence Bureau) are questioning the arrested youth who form a part of the first ever striking module of the ISIS in India.

Sources in the city police told The Sunday Guardian that the NIA had stumbled on a valuable link to the ISIS through these youth who were operating a sleeper network to create violence by exploding bombs at crowded places and carry out attacks on some specific targets to kill Americans and Europeans. Their first target was to explode a bomb near the historic Charminar monument during Ramzan.

Of the five, two brothers — Mohammad Ibrahim Yazdani and Mohammad Ilyas Yazdani — were coordinating the activities in the city, while the other three — Habeeb Mohammad, Abdulla bin Ahmed and Muzaffar Rizwan — were following their instructions by procuring weapons and chemicals to make bombs.

They were in contact with ISIS’ India handler Shafi Armer who is currently camping in Syria through an internet centre they run for government services like paying bills and issuing certificates, etc. As the centre, called Mee Seva, is visited by hundreds of people throughout the day and deals with official transactions, it was off the surveillance of the cyber cell cops.

Grilled by NIA sleuths, the Yazdani brothers admitted that they were carrying out something that was important to protect Islam from corrupt trends. It appeared that they were thoroughly radicalised by ISIS leaders and were cut off from their families for several months to keep their activities secret, an officer who met them told The Sunday Guardian. As all the five arrested were well educated and were earning their livelihood through different professions, none of their family members had any doubts over them. They regularly used to meet at different houses in the Old city and Gachibowli where several IT companies are located to plan attacks on buildings where foreigners would be hit most. The NIA, which recovered two guns and a local made firearm plus some chemicals to prepare some bombs and some cash, questioned the accused about the sources from where they got them all. The Yazdani brothers are believed to have told them that there were several other sleeper cells across the country that would contact them through the net and offer assistance. The accused got firearms from Nanded in Maharashtra and cash to the tune of around Rs 1 lakh from two places in Rajasthan through transfer into their local accounts. This led the sleuths to believe that there were several other moles working for ISIS in different states to help each other. Besides Maharashtra and Rajasthan, the accused would be taken to Delhi for further interrogation, police sources said.

NIA officials inspected the Nandi Resorts Hotel in Anantapur town in Andhra Pradesh where Mohammad Ibrahim and Muzaffer visited last month to meet an ISIS sympathiser from Bangalore. The two accused stayed in the hotel for two days, but returned without meeting anyone from Bangalore, sources said. That sympathiser was supposed to hand over them some cash and other material, but the accused were not sure who that visitor was. NIA has collected evidence on the accused’s visit to  theAnantapur hotel by recording statements of the resort’s staff and recovering hotel receipts. The accused told the cops that they were scouting for modern firearms to kill more people.

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