Islamic State sympathiser and Bangladeshi national Mohammed Musa, who was arrested from West Bengal’s Burdwan railway station earlier this year, was planning an attack on Mother House in Kolkata mostly to target foreign nationals, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) revealed on Sunday.
Investigators say that he had intended to carry out lone wolf attack, as in the Orlando in the US and France’s Nice.
Mother House is the resting place of Mother Teresa, who was canonised on September 4. Mother Teresa worked throughout her life from the premises and her tomb draws many international visitors.
The Bangladeshi national was interrogated by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation in Kolkata on December 9. He is believed to have planned the attack in retaliation to the bombing of Islamic State forces in conflict-ridden Syria and Libya.
Also, he was quizzed by Bangladesh police in connection with its probe in the July 1 Holey Artisan Bakery attack. 22 people, mostly foreigners, were killed in the attack in July this year.
Official sources said a team of FBI questioned Masiuddin for over five hours during which they focussed their questions around Armar, alias Yosuf Al-Hindi, who is believed to be planning attacks on American assets and nationals worldwide.
Armar, 40, a native of Bhatkal in North Karanatka, is suspected to be in touch with radicalised American youth either looking to join or already recruited by the banned ISIS terror group.
The US officials later shared their inputs with the National Investigative Agency (NIA) about their questioning of Masiuddin.
The questioning of Masiuddin was allowed on reciprocal basis as the US agency has been extending help to the Indian security agencies in various terror-related cases
Masiuddin was arrested in July this year during a joint raid by the NIA and West Bengal CID from Viswabharati fast passenger train at Burdwan station in connection with Burdwan bomb blast of October, 2013 in the state
His handler Armar, a fugitive based in Pakistan since 2008, was also part of a group of Indian Mujahideen operatives which had broken away from the organisation to form the IS- affiliated Ansar al-Tauhid in 2014. Ansar al-Tauhid functions from Tehreek-e-Taliban’s training camps in Pakistan’s North Waziristan
According to officials, Musa also had links with the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and was trying to radicalise youngsters and encourage them to join Isis. He was also in touch with radical elements in Syria, Afghanistan and Bangladesh through social media. He had reportedly told his ‘handlers’ that he would target foreigners, including US citizens, in India.