Bangalore, Surat bombs have Qaida imprint

31 07 2008
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31 Jul 2008, 0021 hrs IST, Vishwa Mohan ,TNN
Live bomb in Surat

A live bomb being defused in Surat on Wednesday (PTI Photo)

NEW DELHI: Al-Qaida may not have a presence in India but its footprint was visible in the bombs used in Bangalore and Surat, according to intelligence officials.

For the first time in India, Integrated Circuit (IC) chips were used to assemble bombs in Bangalore and Surat — a technique perfected by the Qaida-linked Indonesian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). Besides using the technique to bomb different places in Indonesia, JI — which aims to establish Islamic state in southeast Asia — has also exported it to Philippines where terrorists have used it effectively in a number of incidents.

Referring to the technique being put to use in India, intelligence officials said some local terrorists could have visited Indonesia for training via Bangladesh — a fact which the Special Task Force (STF) of Uttar Pradesh police had first got wind of during interrogation of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operatives last year.

“Links of LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) with Al Qaida is not a secret, and this leads to strong possibility of linkages of their Indian modules with JI in southeast Asia,” said an official, adding that the IC explosive device — similar to the ones used by JI — found in Bangalore and Surat had only confirmed the suspicion.

While the jehadis were successful in their first attempt to use IC explosive devices in Bangalore on July 25, they could not make a similar impact three days later in Surat, where the chips used in the bombs had some fault.

None of the bombs in Surat exploded, averting another disaster. “It indicates origin of consignments from two different places for Bangalore and Surat — even though it could be the handiwork of a single group using different terror modules,” said a senior official of the National Security Guard (NSG) which has sent its forensic experts to Gujarat.

The bombs in Ahmedabad were, however, of a different make. Timer devices were used there and the design was strikingly similar to those used to bomb courts in three UP cities — Varanasi, Faizabad and Lucknow — in November last year and in Jaipur on May 13 this year. Incidentally, a group calling itself Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility for all three attacks by sending emails to media organisations prior to the blasts.

“Different modus operandi followed in these three cities and in Bangalore and Surat should not be misconstrued as it being the handiwork of different groups,” a senior intelligence officer said.

He added that the timing of operations in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Surat was an indication of meticulous planning and conspiracy by a single command structure from across the border which used different modules in different Indian cities comprising local contacts.

vishwa.mohan@timesgroup.com

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