Suicide vests, explosives recovered from suspected Islamic State operative’s home in UP, claim police

At least two suicide vests and a cache of explosive devices have been recovered by a team of Special Cell officers of Delhi Police from the Uttar Pradesh home of suspected Islamic State (IS) terrorist Abu Yusuf Khan, two days after he was arrested in Delhi, said reports.

According to NDTV, the vests and explosives, along with an Islamic State flag and documents related to the terror group, were recovered during a raid conducted at Yusuf’s home in Uttar Pradesh’s Balrampur.

Mohammad Mustakim (alias Yusuf or Abu Yusuf Khan), who was allegedly planning to carry out a lone-wolf attack in the National Capital, was arrested in Delhi’s Ridge Road area on Friday night following a brief exchange of fire with a Delhi Police team.

Two “fully ready” Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and a pistol were recovered from the suspected Islamic State operative, police said. He was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and was remanded to eight days in police custody. Khan was on Sunday taken to different places in Uttar Pradesh, including his home in Balrampur, for further investigation, officials told news agency PTI.

Among the items recovered from Khan’s house were two explosive jackets, an explosive-laden belt, around nine kilograms (kgs) of raw explosives, ball bearings, seven cylindrical boxes, a timer,  four batteries, an Islamic State flag and a board on which Khan used to practice shooting, reported news agency ANI quoting Delhi Special Cell DCP Pramod Kushwaha.

“Two iron blades, attached in parallel to each other, connected to electric wires from sides, one wire cutter, two mobile chargers, a table alarm watch attached with electric wires and one black colour tape were also recovered from his house,” news agency PTI quoted Kushwahas saying.

The police suspect that Khan was planning to plant the two recovered IEDs in a high footfall area of Delhi, said Kushwaha. “After that, he was to receive instructions from his handler to carry out a fidayeen attack,” the officer further said.

As per the NDTV report, police said that the suspect had also tested several smaller IEDs at a burial ground in the village.

However, Khan’s father Kafeel Ahmed on Sunday told a news channel that he had no knowledge about Khan collecting explosive material and testing bombs in a graveyard.

“I have not heard anything about explosive material. If I had any idea that he was collecting explosive material, I would not have allowed Abu Yusuf to stay in my house,” PTI quoted him as saying. “Only after the police came in the evening and found the material I realised what it is,” he said.

He also said that Khan left home on Friday for Rath in UP’s Hamirpur district and after that, his whereabouts were not known. “On Saturday, we learnt that he has been arrested in Delhi,” he said.

A senior officer of the Anti-Terrorist Squad of Uttar Pradesh Police on Saturday told PTI that Khan had left his village for Lucknow two days ago on the pretext of getting one of his relatives treated there. However, it could not be ascertained how he reached the National Capital where he was arrested on Friday night from the central Delhi’s Ridge Road area, he said.

The Delhi Police had earlier said that a major terror strike was averted with Khan’s arrest, who had been on its radar for over a year. He was planning to carry out a lone wolf strike at a high footfall area in the National Capital, it said.

Khan had planned to strike in the National Capital on 15 August, but could not do so due to heavy security arrangements, Kushwah had told PTI.

Security was stepped up in the National Capital and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh following Khan’s arrest. According to the NDTV report, NSG commandos and members of the Bomb Disposal Squad were deployed to conduct search operations in parts of Delhi and the IEDs found with him were safely defused.

With inputs from agencies

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