3 detained after New Delhi blast

Indian police detained three people for questioning today, including the owner of an Internet cafe in Indian ruled Kashmir, over an email allegedly claiming responsibility for a deadly bombing of the New Delhi High Court, police said.

A powerful bomb, weighing 2kg and hidden in a briefcase outside the main entrance of the High Court, killed 12 people yesterday.

Senior police officers told Reuters that they had detained the owner of an Internet cafe in the Kishtwar region in southern Indian Kashmir where they suspect the email was sent from early yesterday.

Indian authorities are investigating the claim of responsibility allegedly made in the email by the Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami (HUJI) militant group, an al Qaeda affiliate with bases in Pakistan and Bangladesh. It has claimed responsibility for attacks in India in the past.

Security sources in Indian Kashmir, who declined to be identified, have raised doubts about whether HUJI was behind the blast, saying the group had not been active in the region for some time and would not have used an Internet cafe to send a claim of responsibility.

Several Islamist groups have been fighting against Indian rule of the disputed region of Kashmir for years.

Ilyas Kashmiri, who US authorities believe was recently killed in Pakistan, was the head of HUJI and senior al Qaeda member.

The government was sharply criticised for failing to put in place sufficient security measures at such a high-profile location as the High Court of the Indian capital, especially as the blast came only days ahead of the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States when security expected to have been increased.

The High Court was also bombed in May, but caused no injuries.

There were no CCTV cameras at the court and hand-held security scanners were not working, lawyers working there said.

In an email to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), allegedly from the South Asian militant group, it called on India to repeal the death sentence of a man convicted in connection with an attack on the Indian parliament in 2001 and warned it would otherwise target major courts in the country.

 

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