India’s anti-terrorist agency Wednesday said it had busted a local militant cell inspired by ISIS that was planning to carry out bombings and target prominent politicians.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) said 10 members of an obscure militant group called Harkat ul Harb-e-Islam were arrested in multi-city raids and a further six suspects were being questioned over their alleged links with the group.
NIA spokesman Alok Mittal said arms and ammunition were recovered from the raids over 17 locations, including in the capital New Delhi, as the group prepared to strike several targets ahead of the high-profile Republic Day national event on January 26.
“They were at an advanced stage of carrying a series of blasts,” Mittal told reporters at a press conference in New Delhi.
“They wanted to explode remote-controlled bombs and even conduct fidayeen [suicide] attacks.”
Mittal said the group had attempted to make suicide vests and developed a homemade rocket launcher, adding that the unidentified mastermind of the weapon was based overseas.
One of the accused is an engineer, he said.
Authorities have previously claimed to have foiled similar ISIS-inspired cells but there is no evidence of the militant group’s presence in the country.
– with reporting by Agence France-Presse