5 held for planning attacks on Indian religious, other sites

HYDERABAD: India's federal investigative agency has arrested five people for allegedly collecting weapons and explosive materials to attack religious sites and sensitive government building in various parts of the country.

During questioning late Wednesday, the suspects revealed that they were being guided by an online handler suspected to be based in Iraq or Syria, the National Investigation Agency said in a statement, adding it's looking into their possible links with the Islamic State group.

The statement said two semi-automatic pistols, chemicals for making deadly explosive substances and 1.5 million rupees ($22,000) in cash were recovered from the suspects in the southern city of Hyderabad.

An air gun with telescopic sight and shooting practice target boards have also been seized during searches, the statement said.

The agency accused the five of entering into a criminal conspiracy to wage war against the government of India. The suspects were due to appear in a Hyderabad court later Thursday.