After 12 hours of an anti-terror operation, a suspected terrorist believed to be planning a major terror attack in Uttar Pradesh, was killed in the wee hours of Wednesday in Lucknow. 

His body was found when the Anti-Terror Squad blew up a wall to enter a house in Thakurganj where he was holed up in, around 3 am last night, hours before the final round of voting for the Uttar Pradesh election on Wednesday. 

Who is the suspect terrorist?

The suspect killed has been identified as 24-year-old Mohammad Saifurullah alias Ali, who was a resident of Kanpur. After investigation, the IG ATS (Anti-Terror Squad ) Aseem Arun confirmed that he was an active member of ISIS and was getting directions from a handler abroad, reported Times Of India.

“The slain terror suspect belongs to the Khurasan module of the ISIS and was an active member. But, whether he has been indoctrinated or not is a matter of investigation,” Arun said.

What is Khurasan module of the ISIS?

A big fraction of Tehreek-e-Taliban of Pakistan (TTP) has been named as the ISIS Khurasan group which basically operates in Pakistan and Afghanistan, reports India Today. The cafe attack in Dhaka last year and the gruesome terror attack Pakistan’s Quetta was also the handiwork of this group. Further, the 21 men missing from Kerala since early 2016 are also believed to be a part of the ISIS Khurasan group.

Where and how did Saifullah operate?

Saifullah had rented the Thakurganj home in Lucknow for the last 3-4 months and was living there with two others and did not mingle with anyone, an ATS official said.

Police recovered eight pistols, 650 rounds of ammunition, 50 fired rounds, explosives, materials, gold, some cash, passports and SIM cards from the house he was living in. 

Not just that, pages from the dead terrorist’s diary after the encounter which detailed his daily schedule, a rail map and flags of India and Israel were found. The bomb used in the blast was allegedly assembled in the house and an ISIS flag was also found there.

What does his family has to say?

The family of Saifullah expressed shock to the news of his death and his links with a terrorist organisation.

Talking to ANI, Sartaj, the slain terrorist’s father said that Saifullah had left home around two months back when he beat him up for not working. Sartaj also mentioned that his son had called last Monday saying he’s going to Saudi. 

 Saying that it is not in the “country’s interest”, he said the family wouldn’t accept the body of an “anti-national”. 

How was he tracked down?

On Tuesday morning, a blast was reported in a Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train which injured at least ten persons. Suspecting terror links behind blasts, Madhya Pradesh police sent a tip-off to the UP ATS about the presence of terror suspects in Kanpur and Lucknow.

Following that, police then carried out raids, arresting two men in Kanpur and one from Etawah. A third raid targeted the Thakurganj, Lucknow home where the gruelling 12-hour encounter began, reported News 18.

A few hours into the Lucknow siege, the Madhya Pradesh Inspector General of Police confirmed that the Bhopal-Ujjain train blast was an IED explosion and that it was an act of terrorism and that Saifurullah was behind it.

A forensic team will soon be visiting Lucknow soon to compare the explosives used in the Bhopal-Ujjain train blast and those recovered from ISIS terrorist. A massive manhunt to nab the other roommates of Saiful also has been launched.