Briefcase bomb kills 11 in India’s capital

Pakistan-based al-Qaeda affiliate demands repeal of militant’s death sentence

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NEW DELHI An al Qaeda-linked terror group claimed responsibility for a briefcase bomb that killed at least 11 people and injured more than 65 others when it exploded Wednesday morning outside a New Delhi courthouse.

The Pakistan-based militant group Harkat-ul-Jihadi claimed responsibility for the deadly explosion in an email to Indian media demanding clemency for a terrorist on death row.

India’s main opposition political party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, said the bombing could be linked to the approaching anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged all Indians to come together to defeat terrorism.

“This is a cowardly act. We will deal with it, we will not succumb to pressure of terrorism,” he said in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, where he was on a bilateral visit.

Indian police secure the scene of a blast outside the High Court in New Delhi on Sept. 7, 2011. A bomb apparently hidden in a briefcase exploded outside a gate crowded with petitioners waiting to enter the building. (Associated Press)

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Indian police secure the scene of a blast outside the High Court ... more >

“This is a long war in which all political parties, all people of India should stand united so that the scourge of terrorism is crushed,” Mr. Singh said.

Federal officials said it was too early to determine who was behind the bombing, the deadliest attack in this nation’s capital in almost three years. The blast followed coordinated bomb attacks in July that killed 26 people in Mumbai.

U.K. Bansal, special secretary for internal security, said the bomb created a large crater in front of the courthouse and noted that two of the injured were in very critical condition.

He said a preliminary examination of the blast site and the bomb’s remnants suggest that nitrate-based components with traces of PETN were used.

PETN is a hard-to-detect explosive that was used in the attempted 2001 shoe-bomb and 2009 underwear-bomb airliner attacks in the U.S.

Police said the explosion was caused by a homemade bomb and released sketches of a suspect.
India issued a nationwide alert after the blast, and security was heightened across the country, especially in key places such as airports, railway stations and utilities.

The bomb exploded near Gate No. 5 of the High Court, which is about 2 miles from the Indian parliament building.

“The blast occurred outside the High Court in the public area where unchecked people come,” a senior police official said. “Apparently the bomb was in a briefcase.”

As the bomb exploded, people covered in blood were seen running for their lives.

“I saw several dismembered bodies. There were people with severed limbs crying in pain,” an eyewitness said.

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