Five suspected members of terror outfit Islamic State (IS) were arrested and nine others detained by the NIA in cooperation with state police agencies across India, a home ministry official said on Friday.
Informed sources said all the raids were conducted on tip-offs that the IS sympathisers were planning bomb attacks in several cities on the Republic Day (January 26).
Huge quantities of arms and ammunition were seized from the rented house of two of the suspects in Bengaluru, an official said.
"The National Investigation Agency has arrested five suspected terrorists and detained nine others in a joint operation with state police organisations across India," Home Ministry Joint Secretary (Internal Security) M.A. Ganapathy said.
The arrested men—Mudabbir Mushtaq Shaikh, Mohammad Nafees Khan, Mohammad Shareef Mounuddin Khan, Najmul Huda and Mohammad Afzal—are accused of encouraging the youth to join the IS.
Mudabbir is from Thane near Mumbai, and Nafees and Shareef from Hyderabad. Najmul lives in Mangalore while Afzal hails from Banglore. The arrested men are in the age group of 25-30,” Ganapathy said.
"We have no indication so far that they were planning a terror attack in Delhi during the Republic Day function," the officer said.
An NIA official, on the condition of anonymity, said that four of the detained suspects were Asif, Sayed and Ahad—all from Bengaluru—and Syed Mujahid Husain from Tumkuru in Karnataka.
"The NIA with the help of local police picked 14 youths from different cities in raids since Thursday night. They were under security surveillance regarding their activities on the social media," the official said.
The nine suspects, yet to be arrested formally, are being interrogated for their alleged links with the IS sympathisers and their role in the possible terror strikes.
According to sources, the NIA is on the lookout for five to eight more suspects.