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SOURCE: Hindustan Times

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has detained two men from the international airport in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram after a three-hour interrogation on Monday night, days after three al Qaeda operatives were arrested from the state, a report said on Tuesday.

HT’s sister publication, Hindustan, cited sources saying that NIA detained the two men after they arrived Thiruvananthapuram from Saudi Arabia. Hindustan reported one of these two men is associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the other belongs to Indian Mujahideen. One of them is Gul Nawaz from Uttar Pradesh and the other Shuhaib belongs to Kannur in Kerala, it reported. Both of the men have been detained in connection with the serial blasts in Bengaluru in 2008 and a lookout notice was also issued against them in connection with the case.

They were interrogated for nearly three hours by several investigative agencies, including intelligence agency RAW, after they returned from Riyadh, it added. They will first be taken to Kochi, Hindustan reported citing sources, after which Shuhaib will be taken to Bengaluru while Gul Nawaz will be taken to Delhi.

On September 19, NIA had said it had busted an al Qaeda module and arrested three terrorists from Ernakulam in Kerala and six from Murshidabad in West Bengal, who were allegedly planning to carry out major terror strikes in India at the direction of their Pakistan-based handler.

The suspects were planning attacks at several locations, including Delhi-NCR, Kochi and Mumbai, and they were about to leave for Kashmir to receive a consignment of weapons, which was likely to arrive from Pakistan, the officials added.

Under the scanner for some time, the nine men were arrested after the agency learnt that they acquired large quantities of weapons, country-made firearms, locally fabricated body armour, jihadi literature, and literature used for making explosives.