Indian Police Launch Manhunt For Four Militants Planning Attacks

25 Dec

MUMBAI: Four members of a Pakistan-based terrorist group have entered India's financial capital Mumbai with the aim of carrying out “violent” attacks, police said as they launched a manhunt on Thursday.

Police released a photograph of one of the alleged members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group – blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks – and appealed for residents to be on their guard.

“The four recently sneaked into the city to carry out extremely dangerous activity,” joint police commissioner Himanshu Roy told a news conference.

“It is going to be a violent attack,” he added.

The strikes were possibly being planned in connection with upcoming Christmas and New Year festivities, police said.

The 2008 attacks by 10 gunmen targeted Mumbai's main railway station and a number of luxury hotels, killing 166 people.

Military analysts have warned that a second serious militant attack against an Indian target emanating from Pakistan could prompt a swift response from India, upsetting regional security.

Such an attack could also damage investor confidence in India's fast-growing economy.

Roy said he had no information about the nationalities of the four men whom police identified as Abdul Karim Musa, Noor Abul Elahi, Walid Jinnah and Mehfooz Alam.

Police set up a special telephone line for citizens to call with any information and the joint commissioner said Mumbai officers had formed “special cells” to “neutralise” the four alleged militants.

The police warning came after security was stepped up in Mumbai earlier in the week following intelligence warnings of a possible militant attack targeting foreigners.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjeev Dayal said on Tuesday that intelligence reports indicated there were “conscious efforts by terror organisations to target foreigners during these two festivals here”.

He added that “extensive security measures” had been put in place and police were “taking things very seriously”.

The Press Trust of India on Tuesday quoted official sources as saying the intelligence had specifically mentioned possible infiltration by members of Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The western commercial city of Ahmedabad was also cited as a potential target and put on alert. Ahmedabad was the target of a series of 21 synchronised bomb blasts in 2008 that left more than 50 people dead.

Security forces have been conducting “house-to-house” searches in some areas, and extra security had been deployed around markets, religious sites and bus and railway stations in Mumbai.

The lone surviving gunman in the 2008 attacks was sentenced to death in May.

Ahmedabad was the target of a series of 21 synchronised bomb blasts in 2008 that left more than 50 people dead.

Tensions with Pakistan remain high in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

– AFP/de

Channel News Asia

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