The alleged module of the Islamic State group that was busted by investigators on Wednesday were in an “advanced stage” of preparation for bomb attacks in India, the National Investigation Agency said. Ten of the 16 persons detained for questioning have been arrested and more arrests may follow, the agency said. All the accused will be produced before a National Investigation Agency court on Thursday, ANI reported.

The arrests were made following a joint operation that also involved police from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh after searches at 17 locations – six in Seelampur locality of Delhi, six in Amroha district of Uttar Pradesh, and others in Hapur, Lucknow and Meerut districts. The searches were in connection with an ongoing investigation into Harkat ul Harb-e-Islam, a new module of the Islamic State jihadist group.

Five of those arrested are from Uttar Pradesh and five from Delhi, Inspector General Alok Mittal of the National Investigation Agency said at a press conference. The “gang leader”, Mufti Sohail, works at a mosque as a maulvi in Amroha and lives in Jaffrabad locality of Delhi. The group wanted to make “several bombs”, which they would use to target vital installations, some security installations, security personnel, political personalities and crowded places, the NIA claimed.

The level of preparation showed that the accused intended to carry out the bomb attack soon, the NIA said. They wanted to use remote-controlled bombs and were also planning a fidayeen attack in case it would be needed, said the agency.

The group was largely self-funded, and some of the accused had purchased material after allegedly selling gold they stole from home. They used messaging applications such as WhatsApp and Telegram for their internal communications, Mittal said.

The investigators recovered large quantities of explosive material, weapons and ammunition, including a country-made rocket launcher. They also seized Rs 7.5 lakh in cash, nearly 100 mobile phones, 135 SIM cards, several laptops and memory cards, Mittal said. Several batteries and 120 alarm clocks to be used in making bombs were recovered. Investigators found 25 kg of a paste of potassium nitrate, potassium chlorate, sugar and sulphur, along with 150 rounds of ammunition.

According to the investigating agencies, the module has been active for over six months and is suspected to have about 20 members, reported The Hindu.