How anti-terror squad OCTOPUS helped nab suspected terrorists in Chittoor

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Armed forces during an operation to arrest terror suspects in Puttur in Chitoor district on Saturday.

Puttur, Andhra Pradesh:  A day after two suspected Islamist terrorists were arrested from their house in Puttur in Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor district following a 10-hour-long encounter, details have emerged of the operation that involved the highly-skilled OCTOPUS anti-terror unit for the very first time.

The two men, Bilal Malik and Panna Ismail, were allegedly involved in the April blast at the BJP office in Bangalore and two murders in Tamil Nadu including the killing of BJP state vice president auditor Ramesh.

The tip-off about their hideout came after the arrest of another suspected terrorist Fakharuddin on Friday near the Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh border. He is the alleged mastermind of a plot hatched to target senior BJP leader LK Advani in Madurai in 2011.

The Tamil Nadu police reached Puttur on Friday night and surrounded the house of the suspected militants. The suspects first stabbed a police inspector and then rushed inside and locked themselves up.

The cops then alerted the local anti-terror squad Organisation for Counter Terrorist Operations (OCTOPUS), which drilled holes on the roof of the suspected terrorists' house and let a periscope-like-device inside to keep track of what was happening in the house.

The operation that began around 4 am lasted 10 hours. The suspects were nabbed after a fierce gun battle. Arms and explosives were recovered from them.

The two men are now being held in judicial custody. The Tamil Nadu Police says the arrests are major catches that could lead to the arrests of more operatives in hiding and their future plans. The Tamil Nadu cops would soon seek their custody for further interrogation.

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