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Islamic terrorists planned blasts in Goa

Islamic terrorists planned blasts in Goa

Author: K. Srinivas Reddy
Publication: The Hindu
Date: February 2, 2008
URL: http://www.hindu.com/2008/02/02/stories/2008020256001200.htm

Stolen motorcycles were to be used as bombs in the operation; reconnaissance conducted on beaches

* Foreign tourists, possible target * Details of operation not disclosed

Islamic fundamentalists planned serial blasts on the Goa beaches, interrogation of Hyderabad resident Raziuddin Nasir has revealed.

The arrival of droves of foreign tourists, especially Israelis, seemed to have put the beaches on the cross-wires of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harkat-ul-Jihadi-al-Islami operatives working within the country and across the borders. Motorcycles allegedly stolen by Nasir and Asaduddin Abubakar of Karnataka were meant to be used as bombs on a few select beaches.

Nasir, who is being grilled by intelligence agencies and the police departments of more than 12 States in Karnataka, has disclosed that the purpose of his visit to Goa immediately after the twin blasts in Hyderabad on August 25, was to identify beaches for organising serial blasts.

The 22-year-old engineering college drop-out, who had undergone training in a Pakistan-based HuJI cell, had selected Goa, as it was attracting hundreds of tourists from Israel. Though Nasir had not yet disclosed how he planned to organise the blasts, his matter-of-fact confession that they were planned in four beach stretches of Goa stunned interrogators.

The Islamist terror modules had earlier turned bicycles into Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in the Varanasi, Lucknow and Gorakhpur blasts. "Now motorcycles seemed to be the in-thing," a police officer remarked.

The Davangere police had seized 11 stolen motorcycles at the instance of Nasir and his accomplice Abubakar. Though the duo claimed to have stolen the motorcycles for fun, the fact that they did not abandon or sell them surprised the sleuths.

Prize catch

Nasir, a native of Hyderabad, is being considered a prize catch for the Indian police. He, however, has not yet spilled the beans on who had fabricated the IEDs or how the explosives were to be supplied to him. All he has disclosed was that he had "sought" 50 kg of explosives from his handlers.

Intelligence agencies, piecing stray pieces of information together now realise that they had an input based on telephonic intercepts that Nasir's mentor Shahid alias 'Bilal' had instructed him to go to Kathmandu saying that "everything is arranged."

Fiat disregarded

But, Nasir disregarded the fiat and stayed put in Hyderabad, ostensibly to undergo a root canal treatment in a dental hospital and to also get his eyes checked.

Even when he was undergoing training in a terror camp across the border, Indian intelligence agencies had intercepted a telephone call in which the subject of communication appeared to be Nasir. The lanky youngster with a serious eye problem had lost his spectacles and was finding it difficult to move without them. The caller was requesting the person on the other line to arrange for sending a pair of spectacles. Now, intelligence agencies believe that it was meant for Nasir.

His repeated assertion that Bilal was 'neutralised' by his operatives in Karachi in August 2007 has made the sleuths wonder whether it was a red herring thrown by Bilal handlers.

Yet, if one were to go by Nisar's version, Bilal was growing too big for his boots by taking decisions on his own. Bilal's penchant to depend more on Bangladesh HuJI modules for organising subversive activities in India was not liked by his Pakistan handlers.

Particularly, the arrest of a HuJI activist by Indian security agencies on the India-Bangladesh border last year was viewed as a 'terribly unprofessional act' by Bilal's handlers.

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