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December 20, 2001
0132 IST

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Thane police claim to have arrested Hamza earlier

Jake Khan in Mumbai

The Thane police on Wednesday claimed that it had arrested Mohammed Yasin Fateh Mohammed alias Abu Hamza, one of terrorists killed in the suicide attack on Parliament on December 13, last year.

Thane police commissioner S M Shangari said that Hamza was one of the four Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists nabbed by his men last year.

He said that Hamza was nabbed following a tip off from the Intelligence Bureau.

Hamza, then 24, along with three of his associates, was arrested from an apartment in predominantly Muslim locality of Mumbra on November 23, 2000, and after interrogation, he was handed him over to the J&K police on December 8, 2000, the commissioner said.

Police officials said that Hamza was a hardcore terrorist, well-versed in martial warfare, who at the time of being arrested even engaged in physical combat with crime branch officer, Datta Ghule.

Officials, who had gone to arrest Hamza, still remember the spectacular flying kick that Hamza delivered to Ghule and jumped out of the window of his flat, in a bid to escape arrest.

Hamza would have certainly escaped had it not been for the security cordon that the police had thrown before attempting to make the arrest.

Despite sustaining injuries on his head and multiple fractures in his arms and legs Hamza put up a stiff resistance, the officers said.

It was only during interrogations that the police realised that they had netted a prize catch.

In his statement to the Thane police, Hamza, a resident of Taluka Samundari in Faislabad district of Pakistan, revealed that he was trained in a camp in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, and was actively involved in terrorist operation in the valley since 1995.

Besides Hamza, the other three who were arrested were Abu Saifullah (25), Shakeel alias Abu Abdullah (23) and Mohammed Ghulam alias Abu Maaz (24).

During the arrest, the Thane police had recovered a cache of arms and ammunition including AK 47 assault rifles with 49 cartridges and three grenades from the flat.

According to the Thane police, Hamza, who had sneaked into the state through Gujarat via the rail route and had taken shelter in Thane, was planning to attack VIPs and to sabotage vital installations like Hindustan Petroleum, Bombay High and the Naval dockyard.

Complete Coverage: The Attack on Parliament

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