Monday, November 29, 1999

Police identify Hyderabad shooter

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Hyderabad, May 16 -- Andhra Pradesh police have identified suspected terror operative Vicar Ahmed alias Vicaruddin as one of the attackers in Friday's shootout in Hyderabad in which one police constable was killed. The attack took place just four days before the third anniversary of the bomb blast at the historic Mecca Masjid in the city. Five persons died in the blast and five in the subsequent police firing outside the mosque where thousands had gathered for Friday prayers on May 18, 2007. "We recorded statements of several eyewitnesses, including local shop owners and showed them Vicaruddin's pictures. We are certain that it was Vicaruddin who, riding pillion, shot the policemen," said a police officer who did not wish to be named. The police have launched a search operation to hunt for Vicaruddin, who was identified after recording the statements of witnesses and analysing a CD, which was reportedly dropped by the assailants at the site before fleeing. In the CD, Tehreek Galba-e-Islam, an outfit allegedly floated by Vicaruddin, owned responsibility for the brutal attack. It stated that the attack was carried out to avenge the death of five Muslims in police firing after the Mecca Masjid blast. It warned of more "revenge attacks" if those responsible for the 2007 firing were not brought to book. The inquiry into the shooting has now been handed over to the Special Investigation Team (SIT), an expert probe wing of the city police. Twenty-six year old constable U. Ramesh was shot dead by two masked gunmen on a two-wheeler in Shahali Banda area of the old city on Friday. A red alert has been sounded across the city in view of the Mecca Masjid blast anniversary on Tuesday and police have been asked to remain vigilant, Commissioner A.K. Khan said.

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