Police claim major breakthrough in terror bombings probe (Second Lead)

September 20th, 2008 - 3:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) A week after synchronized bombings in the Indian capital killed 24 people and injured over 100, police Saturday said they were close to busting the terror module allegedly responsible for planting bombs and causing mayhem in several Indian cities this year with the revelations of an arrested computer science student and the arrest of another suspect. A day after two terrorists were killed and another arrested in a shootout Friday in the congested Jamia Nagar locality in south Delhi, police Saturday said Saif, the arrested member of the Indian Mujahideen terror module, had confessed to the group’s involvement in the Delhi blasts, in the July 26 bombings in Ahmedabad and the May 13 Jaipur bombings.

Police are now on the lookout for the two terrorists who escaped during the shootout - Shehzaad and Junaid. According to Saif’s revelations to police, Shehzaad is the one who planted the bomb at India Gate, which was defused, while Junaid had gone along with Atif when he went to plant the bomb at Greater Kailash I’s M-Block market.

Saif, who was studying computer science at the Jamia Milia Islamia University in south Delhi when he allegedly got involved with the Indian Mujahideen, has told police that Mohammed Atif, alias Bashir, one of the two killed in the shootout, was the mastermind of the blasts.

The elite National Security Guards (NSG) reached Batla House Saturday to examine flat L-18, where the shootout took place. A large posse of policemen have cordoned off Batla House.

One police sharpshooter was killed in the firefight in the Muslim-dominated Jamia Nagar area near the Jamia Milia University.

Saif has been kept in the Lodhi Road office of the Delhi Police Special Cell. He has confessed that the module consisted of 10-12 members.

Meanwhile, another suspected terrorist Zishan was arrested from the crowded Jhandewalan area of the capital Friday night. “Zishan was arrested from Jhandewalan on a secret tip off,” Delhi Police Special Cell Deputy Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar said.

Police officials said they were now looking for 10-12 more people allegedly involved in the Delhi blasts.

According to Saif, Atif had researched, planned and executed the Delhi, Ahmedabad and Jaipur blasts, which together have killed more than 100 people and injured more than 200.

Atif, a resident of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, was handling all the work of the Indian Mujahideen, and was one of the top leaders, according to what Saif had told the investigators. Atif was in charge of manufacturing the bombs and executing the blasts, Saif said.

Saif reportedly confessed to being the one who planted the bombs at Regal Cinema, which was defused.

He told the investigators that Zishan and Sajid - who was killed Friday morning in the shootout - were responsible for planting the bomb in New Delhi’s downtown Connaught Place where it meets Barakhamba Road. That explosion killed two people.

The man who planted the bomb at Gaffar Market was a new recruit, and Saif said he did not know his name. That blast in the crowded market of central Delhi’s Karol Bagh area led to the maximum casulaties Sep 13.

The Indian Mujahideen is a radical offshoot of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

Police had recovered 12 shoulder bags and several mobile phones from the L-18 Batla House in Jamia Nagar. They are examining the mobile call records to trace the two members who fled the scene after the shootout.

A police official said that the probe had led them to the “roots” of the Indian Mujahedeen group.

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