Lucknow: After more than 12 hours of intermittent firing and the use of tear gas and smoke bombs, the operation to flush out a terror suspect from a house in Thakurganj on the outskirts of Lucknow, ended around 3 am. The police, which suspected that two men had been holed up inside the house, said only one body was recovered. Arms including a pistol, a revolver and a knife, were also found inside.
The operation took place on the eve of the seventh and the last phase of the mammoth 7-phase elections in Uttar Pradesh. The man - identified as Saifullah -- was suspected of being involved in the explosion on an Ujjain-Bhopal train in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, which injured nine people on Tuesday morning.
Senior police officer Daljit Chaudhary said, "In the darkness, we had suspected there were two terror suspects, but it is confirmed now that there was only one man". The security forces had earlier drilled a hole in the roof and got a glimpse of two weapons, from which they concluded there were two men.
Aseem Arun, a senior officer of the Anti-Terror Squad, said, "We used micro-tube cameras for recon of the site. The image was not clear, hence thought there were two terrorists. But it turned out that there was only one."
The operation to flush out the man by a group of commandos had started around 3.30 pm on Tuesday. The authorities said they were hoping to take him alive and question him regarding the train blast. After more than 12 hours, they were able to storm the house. Officers who went inside said two weapons were found in a room, the floor of which was slippery with blood.
CCTV footage from near the train explosion site had helped the police to identify the suspects, two of whom were arrested from Kanpur and one from Etawah in Uttar Pradesh. Three others were caught in Madhya Pradesh and hunt is on for three more. "Questioning of the arrested suspects is on... could be linked to ISIS," said Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The police said the men are likely to have links to a local ISIS cell, which is suspected to be behind the train blast. Mr Chaudhary said the men had been largely radicalised through social media and online literature. The police said they also suspected the presence of another group in Kanpur, which has been influenced by ISIS.