Friday, May 7, 2010

Lashkar terrorist held in Hyderabad; Terror strike averted

Hyd police nabs LeT man assigned to  cause blasts
Police Commissioner A.K. Khan showing to the media photographs of Mohd. Zia-ul-Haq in Hyderabad on Monday.

HYDERABAD: In a major breakthrough, the Hyderabad police arrested a hardcore Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative, Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq, from Edibazar in the city. They seized two Chinese-make grenades, a 7.4 mm pistol with six live rounds and a cellphone from him.

Briefing the media, city police commissioner A K Khan said, "We had information that a few suspected terror elements were planning to strike at thickly populated areas. We foiled their bid and arrested Zia-ul-Haq."

On a tip-off, police picked up a few suspects. Of them, 34-year-old Haq, resident of Edibazar, was found to be an LeT operative. A native of Khanapur in Adilabad district, he was working as a cab driver in the city.

While studying Intermediate, Haq left for Saudi Arabia to work there. There he got acquainted with a Pakistani national, Abu Ali, who introduced him to LeT commander Abdul Aziz, the commissioner said. Later, Abdul Aziz sent him to Pakistan in 2002 for training. After landing in Karachi, he went to Muzaffarabad where he was received by one Abu Kasim. He was trained at an LeT camp for a month, he added.

Later, he along with seven other Indians infiltrated into India through the Poonch sector of Jammu & Kashmir. Since then, he has been working with various travel companies as taxi driver. Instructed to work as a sleeper cell, he did reconnaissance of HITEC City, Imax theatre and film theatres in Chikkadpally while regularly contacting his handlers.

In December, 2005, Haq reportedly received a call from Abdul Aziz tasking him to proceed to Delhi. Haq went to Delhi and received four hand grenades and a pistol with six live rounds from a courier sent by LeT handler Mehmood.

The LeT commander started mounting pressure on Haq to execute a 'sensational operation'. Haq went to Odeon Deluxe theatre in Chikkadpally on May 7, 2006 and lobbed a grenade under a seat 10 minutes before interval at around 10.15 pm. He wanted to throw another grenade outside the cinema, however, since the one lobbed inside the hall exploded, he panicked and left the second one in a dustbin, the commissioner said.

Though Haq remained under the radar, in a "sleeper cell", since 2006, of late, he wanted to start some attacks with LeT handlers. In Hyderabad, Haq was doing recce of vulnerable targets behind the disguise of a taxi driver, said the police commissioner.

Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq was actively looking out for targets to cause bomb blasts in thickly-populated Hindu areas of the city and to cause ‘maximum damage’. He was also close to finalising an attack on top multinational Deloitte's offices in Hyderabad.

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