Clues suggest homegrown terrorists in India attack

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“The earlier generation of terrorist groups in India were mostly linked to Pakistan,” Gunaratna told the AP. “But today we are seeing a dramatic change. They are almost all homegrown groups. … They are very angry and firmly believe that India is killing Muslims and attacking Islam.”

British-based Jane’s Information Group said it thought the attackers could be Indian but that taking hostages suggested a wider anti-Western agenda.

“Until now, terrorist attacks in India have targeted civilians, often in busy market or commercial areas, and in communally sensitive areas with the intention to foment unrest between Hindu and Muslim communities,” said Urmila Venugopalan, Jane’s South Asia analyst.

“This stands in contrast to the national issues that appeared to motivate Indian Mujahideen,” Venugopalan said.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed “external forces” but stopped short of blaming Pakistan. Both are nuclear-armed countries.

In September, a massive suicide truck bomb devastated the Marriott Hotel in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, killing at least 54 people, including three Americans and the Czech ambassador.

“This type of terrorism is spreading, through Pakistan and now India, but we were all surprised by such a large-scale attack like this,” said Wajid Hassan, Pakistan’s High Commissioner in London. “This is no coincidence that this type of attack happened so soon after the bombing of the Marriott Hotel. People from all countries are being paid to fight this al-Qaeda war. This is a war that goes beyond any nationality.” Sahni, however, said “very preliminary investigations and intelligence information would suggest that some groups based in Pakistan are the most likely.

“If there is Indian participation, it’s most likely to be Students’ Islamic Movement of India,” he said, referring to a radical student group banned in India in 2001. Indian intelligence officials were also investigating whether Mumbai’s criminal underworld could be involved.

“It’s a possibility,” Sahni said. “When we say Mumbai underworld we’re talking of Dawood Ibrahim.”

Ibrahim is one of India’s most wanted men and also the alleged mastermind behind bombings in Mumbai in 1993 that killed 257 people. He has reportedly fled Mumbai, and police now believe he lives in Pakistan. Pakistani officials have denied this.

British-based Jane’s Information Group said it thought the attackers could be Indian but that taking hostages suggested a wider anti-Western agenda.

“Until now, terrorist attacks in India have targeted civilians, often in busy market or commercial areas, and in communally sensitive areas with the intention to foment unrest between Hindu and Muslim communities,” said Urmila Venugopalan, Jane’s South Asia analyst.

“This stands in contrast to the national issues that appeared to motivate Indian Mujahideen,” Venugopalan said.

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Associated Press writers Pamela Hess in Washington, Gregory Katz and David Stringer in London, Lee Keath in Cairo and Muneeza Naqvi in New Delhi contributed to this report.

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