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STF arrests ISI agents in connection with Varanasi blasts

Written by: Staff
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Lucknow, Apr 5 (UNI) In a major breakthrough, the Special Task Force (STF) of the Uttar Pradesh Police today arrested six terrorists comprising an ISI module, responsible for the March 7 twin blasts in Varanasi.

However, the STF was yet to get hold of the three Bangladeshi nationals who were also involved in the incident.

Apart from Waliullah, the ISI module chief, who was arrested in the state capital this morning, others arrested include Mahbook Ali, Syed Suhiab Hasan, Mohd Rizwan Siddique, Farhan and Mohd Saad.

Except for Waliullah (32), a resident of Phoolpur (Allahabad), the others are in their 20s.

Mahbook is a resident of 24 Parganas district, West Bengal, while Suhiab and Farhan belong to Lucknow. Rizwan and Saad hail from Jyotiba Phule Nagar district, UP.

Altogether six kg RDX, three kg plastic explosives (PETN), 15 hand grenedes, an AK 47 assault rifle, a .32 bore pistol and 10 detonators were recovered from them.

Addressing a joint press conference here, STF IG Jagmohan Yadav and SSP S K Bhagat claimed all six ISI terrorists had undergone rigourous arms training for 28 days in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

They said the three Bangladeshis involved in the March 7 blast -- Bashiruddin, Mustafiz and Zakaria -- were yet to be arrested.

The trio had reached Allahabad on March 3 and Waliullah gave them shelter to carry out the plans.

During interrogation, it was revealed the three Bangladeshis studied with Waliullah at Deoband and he supplied the explosives to them for the blast.

Waliullah, alongwith his two brothers, were also arrested during 2001 for anti-social activities.

According to the arrested terrorists, Bashir of arkat-ul-jehad-al Islami took Waliullah to Bangladesh and after a preliminary training there, he was sent to Pakistan in 2004.

Later after returning to India, Waliullah sent 10 boys in their early 20s in batches to Pakistan via Bangladesh for arms training.

Mr Bhagat also maintained the arrested ISI module members claimed they were given training by Pakistani terrorists, about 200 kms from Karachi.

The twin blasts at the 16th century Sankatmochan Temple and Cantonment Railway Station here had claimed at least 17 lives and wounded over 100 people.

Earlier, the police had released photographs of four persons including a woman suspect. However, this proved to be a red herring and the 'suspects' were found to be innocent.

Navniet Sikera was removed as SSP Varanasi in the aftermath of the incident.

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