Security forces on Tuesday and in the early hours of Wednesday conducted an operation in Lucknow that resulted in a terrorist being neutralised, a few hours after a non-lethal blast struck the Bhopal-Ujjain Express. It was determined to be a terrorist attack, and the person responsible was neutralised in the shootout.
Here are 10 things you need to know about the shootout that led to the death of a terrorist belonging to the Islamic State group – also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL):
1. A handful of people are injured in a blast aboard the Bhopal-Ujjain Express. Authorities rush to the spot, and it is confirmed later that this was a terrorist attack.
2. Early in the afternoon, a bus is intercepted in Madhya Pradesh and three people detained from it in connection with the blast. During interrogation, one of the three is identified as Atif Muzaffar. The information the trio provides is passed on to Central security and intelligence agencies.
3. The UP Police carry out raids in three cities in connection with the blast, based on information provided by the arrested trio.
4. Three more people are arrested from Kanpur and Etawah in two of the raids. The third place to be raided is the Thakurganj residence in Lucknow, which is apparently at the centre of it all.
5. The UP Police send out a tweet saying a terrorist is holed up in this house, and they are having an encounter with him. The tweet is later deleted. Meanwhile, initial reports from the spot say there are two terrorists. The authorities later confirm that this conclusion was drawn based on unreliable footage from micro-tube cameras.
6. The terrorist is identified as one Mohammed Saiful, or Saifullah, and efforts are made to catch him alive. This results in stretching of the operation. The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), leading the charge against him, use several methods – including chilli bombs – to try and smoke him out.
7. By evening, the Madhya Pradesh inspector general of police (IG) confirms that the blast in the train was a terror attack. It becomes apparent that the blast and this encounter are connected.
8. In yet another effort to nab Saiful alive, he is allowed to speak to his brother, who can convince him to surrender and lay down his arms.
9. As efforts to catch Saiful alive fail and the hours drag on, the ATS makes a final push. The siege ends after 11 hours, with Saiful's death. However, the ATS is still looking for two others over their involvement in terror activities.
10. ATS IG Aseem Arun tells reporters: "This terrorist was a member of the ISIS Khorasan module. The room [where he was holed up in] is being checked for explosives." He later adds that eight pistols, 650 rounds of ammunition, 50 fired rounds, explosive materials, gold, cash, passports and SIM cards were recovered from the spot.