India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) Saturday claimed to have foiled plans for terror strikes in various parts of the country with the arrest of nine alleged al-Qaeda operatives reportedly acting at the behest of handlers from Pakistan.
The agency arrested the nine in early morning raids at Murshidabad in West Bengal and Ernakulam in Kerala, and claimed to have recovered countrymade pistols, a rudimentary body armour, batteries, switches, firecrackers, literature on home-made IEDs and other “incriminating material” from them, apart from a map marking out vital installations in Delhi which were reportedly among their targets.
All nine belong to Murshidabad district. Seven are either daily wage labourers or in menial jobs, while two are doing their graduation at a Murshidabad college. Perumbavoor in Ernakulam, from where two of the men were held, is a major migrant hub in Kerala.