Tuesday, December 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India





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Plan to kill leaders foiled
5 Al-Qaida men arrested
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 24
The Al-Qaida plan to blow up vital installations in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country, including Delhi, besides eliminating senior political leaders and American and Israeli tourists in India was foiled by the Jammu Police with the arrest of five activists of Osama bin Ladenís outfit.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr P.L. Gupta, and Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Farooq Khan, who has been supervising the operation against the Al-Qaida activists, told newsmen here today that the Al-Qaida network was smashed when the police arrested Qamar Ayub, a resident of Mirpur in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in the Jammu region. They said Ayub was the chief of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen in Jammu and Kashmir and had been assigned the task of establishing Al-Qaida modules in the state and other parts of India, including Delhi, by involving some foreign nationals.

One Saudi national and the other, a Palestinian, were his main collaborators.

Mr Gupta said Ayub had been introduced to Abdul Rahim Wani, a leader of the Peopleís Democratic Party, headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayed, who had been provided with police security. Ayub was engaged as a driver of Wani.

So far five activists of the Al-Qaida, including Abdul Rahim Wani, two police constables, who were posted to provide security to Wani, and Moulvi Tahir from Bihar had been arrested. The two police constables have also been dismissed.

The Palestinian national was picked up by the police in Delhi. Ayub and his accomplice were in the process of establishing Al-Qaida centres in Jammu and Kashmir, in Delhi and other parts of India but the plan was foiled when he was arrested from the house of Wani in Jammu.

On the basis of the information given by Ayub and others, a large quantity of arms and ammunition, including four assault rifles, two AK-74 rifles, 10 kg of RDX, eight hand grenades and other explosives were seized from a hideout in Srinagar.

Mr Gupta claimed that these weapons and explosives were to be used by Al-Qaida activists while targeting the Civil Secretariat and MLA hostel in Jammu and foreign establishments in Delhi, particularly the American and Israeli establishments.

It was revealed that two Saudi nationals were also actively involved in the operation. While one, stated to be closed to Bin Laden, was planning to establish an Al-Qaida centre at Rajwar in Handwara tehsil of Kupwara district, the other was absconding within the country. However, inside reports said one Saudi national had been arrested.

Mr Gupta said police teams from Jammu had been sent to Delhi and other states to arrest other activists of the Al-Qaida.

He said six policemen had been taken into custody and would be dismissed for failure to discharge their duty when a group of militants attack the houses of Chaudhary Talib Hussain, a former minister, and Moulvi Dil Mohammad, a religious leader of Rajouri district last night. The militants gheraoed the two houses and took away 14 rifles, including three SLRs and ammunition, from the police guard.
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