NEW DELHI – Indian police have arrested three Muslim militants suspected of planning terror attacks in New Delhi during a major Hindu festival season that starts later this month, a top police official said Thursday.
The three are members of the Indian Mujahideen, an Islamic militant group, police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said. The group has links to Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has claimed responsibility for some previous terrorist attacks in India.
The three suspects were arrested in New Delhi over the past two weeks, Kumar told reporters. He said they were responsible for several small explosions in the western city of Pune in August in which one person was injured. A Pune cafe popular with foreigners was the target of a 2010 bombing that killed 17 people.
Police recovered explosives, detonators, batteries and nails used in bombs from the suspects, Kumar said.
Police didn't give any details of the planned attacks. Large numbers of people gather for religious ceremonies and for shopping during the festival season.
Kumar said the questioning of Syed Zabiuddin Ansari, an Indian citizen who was considered to be a key player in attacks in Mumbai in 2008, helped lead to the three suspects.
Ansari was arrested at New Delhi's airport in June after Saudi Arabia agreed to hand him over to Indian officials and put him on a flight home.
Investigators said Ansari was linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba. He is alleged to have been among those giving orders to the Mumbai attackers or directing them on their cellphones from a control room in Karachi, Pakistan, during the Nov. 26-28, 2008, attacks that killed 166 people.
Ten Pakistani gunmen rampaged through Mumbai for three days attacking two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and a packed train station.