Suspected IS operatives who planned 'lone-wolf' attacks held

The brothers arrested in Gujarat were planning to target religious places, say police

ISIS suspects Wasim Ramodiya and Naeem Ramodiya being taken away after they were arrested by Gujarat ATS on Saturday. Pic/PTI
ISIS suspects Wasim Ramodiya and Naeem Ramodiya being taken away after they were arrested by Gujarat ATS on Saturday. Pic/PTI

Rajkot/Ahmedabad: The Gujarat ATS yesterday arrested two brothers with suspected ISIS links who allegedly hatched plans to conduct "lone-wolf" attacks in the state.

Wasim Ramodiya and Naeem, who have MCA and BCA degrees respectively, were allegedly in contact with ISIS handlers and were planning to target religious places like Chotila, police said, adding they have recovered bomb-making material from them.

Based on specific information about their alleged activities 'inspired by the jihadi ideology of ISIS', ATS officials nabbed Wasim from Rajkot and his younger brother Naeem from Bhavnagar during an early morning operation, said officials.

According to Inspector General of Gujarat ATS, J K Bhatt, explosives as well as jihadi literature were found from these suspected ISIS operatives during raids at their residences in Rajkot and Bhavnagar.

"We have been keeping a close watch on them since past three months, as they were found to be in contact with ISIS through Skype and other social media platforms like Telegram, Twitter and Whatsapp. We conducted raids in Rajkot and Bhavnagar and nabbed the duo," Bhatt told reporters in Ahmedabad.

Investigation has revealed that the two had planned to attack the famous temple at Chotila town of Surendranagar district, ATS ACP B S Chavda said.

He said that to create terror, they planned to record and upload the video of the attack on social media. They had also planned to carry out blasts at different places and also set on fire vehicles to spread terror, Chavda said.

They were also in touch with ISIS' controversial preacher Mufti Abdus Sami Qasmi, arrested by NIA in February 2016, said the officer.

"They were on our radar since past three months. When we arrested them, they were in the process of making an improvised bomb to carry out lone-wolf style attacks," he said. Lone wolf style attacks are those wherein a person prepares and commits violent acts alone without assistance from any group. However, he or she may be influenced by the ideology of an external group, and may act in support of such a group.

Keralite who joined ISIS reportedly killed

A youth, who was among the 17 missing persons from Kerala and suspected to have joined terror outfit ISIS, has been reportedly killed, police said. One of the Hafiz's relatives had received a WhatsApp message saying that he had become "shaheed" (martyr), a senior police officer said. But, there was no official confirmation in this regard, he said.

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