al qaeda operative
[REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE] The kingpin of interstate kidney racket, T Rajukumar Rao has told Delhi Police that . Picture: Abdul Rehman, the suspected al Qaeda militant who was arrested by a joint team of Delhi and Odisha Police from Cuttack district in Odisha on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015.Twitter/ANI

The Delhi Police special cell have arrested a third suspected al Qaeda militant from Uttar Pradesh's Sambhal district.

The suspect has been identified as Zafar Masood, who was allegedly recruited for Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

Mohammad Asif, the suspected al Qaeda militant who was arrested from Delhi on Monday, had recruited Masood, according to Hindustan Times.

Masood was reportedly in touch with Asif and together they were recruiting youngsters to join AQIS. The duo has allegedly radicalised and recruited eight to nine people in the last one year.

According to HT, al Qaeda was planning to send all the new recruits to Waziristan for training. The police suspect that they were recruited to carry out 9/11-like terror attacks in India.

The Delhi Police has launched an operation to hunt down all the recruits across nine states in India. 

While interrogating Asif and Rehman, the Delhi Police learnt that AQIS had established overall six modules in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Delhi, according to The Indian Express report.

Asif told interrogators that one Maulana Asim Umar convinced him to join AQIS sometime in 2012. He revealed that al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri had appointed Umar as the chief of AQIS.

"As the AQIS head, Umar pledged to take the frontiers of Islamic jihad towards the entire South Asian continent including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, with India being the centerpiece of action," Joint Commissioner of Police (special cell) Vivek Gogia told the IE.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police is mulling over interrogating Masood and the two other suspected operatives -- Abdul Rehman and Asif -- together. Rehman was arrested from a village in Odisha's Cuttack district on Wednesday.

AQIS is a faction of al Qaeda established in September 2014 to fight against the governments of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Also read