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US warns of possible terror attacks in New Delhi

US warns of possible terror attacks in New Delhi
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First Published: Sat, May 01 2010. 03 45 PM IST
Updated: Sat, May 01 2010. 03 45 PM IST
New Delhi: The US embassy in India warned Saturday of possible “imminent” terrorist attacks in New Delhi as it heightened the threat security awareness level for its citizens in the Capital.
“There are increased indications that terrorists are planning imminent attacks in New Delhi,” the US embassy said in a statement on its website, urging tourists to avoid half-a-dozen of the city’s popular shopping areas.
The advisory marked an increase in the threat awareness level for US residents and visitors to the Indian Capital. Earlier in April the embassy had said there were “increased indications that terrorists are planning attacks in New Delhi.”
“Americans travelling or residing in India are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance,” the embassy said in its notice.
The US advisory warned that popular markets located in New Delhi, such as Connaught Place in the heart of the city, could “be especially attractive targets for terrorist groups.”
A spokesman for India’s ministry of home affairs said that “security is adequate” in the capital.
Delhi Police on Saturday said it has taken appropriate security measures to ensure that no untoward incident takes place against the backdrop of the US issuing alerts about “imminent” terror strikes in the capital.
“Delhi Police is aware of the advisory issued by the US embassy that there are increased indication that terrorist attacks are imminent in New Delhi. The Delhi Police is taking appropriate measures in this regard,” Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said.
He also appealed to public to be vigilant and fully cooperate with police and inform the nearest police station or toll free number 1090 on noticing any suspicious object, person or vehicle.
The identity of the informant will be kept secret, he said.
The appeal comes against the backdrop of the US, UK and Australia issuing fresh advisories, warning of “imminent” terror attacks in New Delhi, particularly in market places like Connaught Place, Greater Kailash and Chandni Chowk, which are “attractive targets” for terrorist groups.
The last major attack in New Delhi was a series of bomb blasts in busy upmarket shopping areas in September 2008 that left 22 people dead and wounded 100 more.
Earlier in April, two low-intensity bombs went off at a cricket stadium in Bangalore ahead of an Indian Premier League game, causing fresh jitters.
India has been battling to salvage its image as a safe host as it readies for the Commonwealth Games in October, which are expected to draw 8,000 foreign athletes.
In February, a bomb ripped through a crowded restaurant popular with travellers in Pune, killing 16 people, including five foreigners.
It was first major incident since the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 10 Pakistan-based terrorists launched an assault on multiple targets in India’s financial centre, killing 166 people.
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First Published: Sat, May 01 2010. 03 45 PM IST