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India Jets Hijack Terror Threat

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  • India Jets Hijack Terror Threat

    Paramilitary officials patrol at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi

    India has put all of its major airports on high alert after receiving threats that planes may be hijacked and used for possible attacks.

    Airport security has been tightened and travellers are being asked to check in three hours before their flights.

    India's air force chief Fali Homi Major said: "This is based on a warning, which has been received and we are prepared as usual."

    Major airports - including New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkata - have been affected.

    Indian TV reported that the alert was issued after an email from Deccan Mujahideen, the same group that claimed the Mumbai attacks.

    Government sources cited intelligence "inputs" that militants may have sneaked into India to try and hijack civilian aircraft.

    The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, which is in overall charge of airport safety, said extra paramilitary troops have been deployed to guard six of the country's busiest international airports.

    Sky's India correspondent Alex Crawford said: "The Indian Bureau for Civil Aviation has warned of an attempt to hijack one or more planes at Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore airports.

    "Chennai airport is also on hijack alert - this is where the England cricket team is expected to play one of their test matches."

    Indian Defence Minister A K Antony has told military chiefs to be prepared for assaults from the air and sea, in the wake of growing criticism about slack security after the Mumbai killings.

    The atrocity in India's financial capital last week left more than 170 people dead.

    New Delhi has blamed the attacks on militants who it says were trained in Pakistan.

    India suspects two senior leaders of banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba orchestrated the three-day siege, Indian officials have said.

    Evidence collected in the investigation pointed to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Yusuf Muzammil as masterminds behind the bloody rampage, according to two government officials.

  • #2
    Re: India Jets Hijack Terror Threat

    Indian Airports Alerted to Threat of Armed Assault, Hijackings

    By Steve Herman
    04 December 2008

    India has put several international airports on "red alert" following repeated e-mailed threats to target air facilities in New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai and hijack airliners. From New Delhi, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports the increased security comes in wake of last week's terror attack in Mumbai, which killed about 175 people, and the anniversary of the destruction of an Indian mosque.

    Although some security experts are casting doubt on the authenticity of e-mailed messages warning of more terror attacks in India, authorities are taking no chances. They have put all civil airports on alert and are making closer and repeated inspections of passengers' luggage.

    Threatening e-mails sent to media organizations (including the Voice of America) have been traced to a computer relay server in Saudi Arabia. But analysts say they do not match the pattern and language of previous credible communications received from the obscure group known as "Deccan Mujahideen." E-mails in that name were sent immediately surrounding several bombings, earlier this year, in Indian cities.

    Indian officials contend last week's attack on Mumbai was carried out by gunmen who came from Pakistan and who are linked to the terrorist organization Laskhar-e-Taiba.

    Contributing to the apprehension is the anniversary of the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh. The mosque - constructed by the first Mughal emperor - was demolished by Hindu activists on December Sixth, 1992. The act inflamed Muslim sentiment.

    The latest e-mail threats specifically mention the international airports at Bangalore, Chennai and New Delhi.

    Indian newspapers and television stations quote sources as saying that, in addition to the e-mails, specific intelligence has been received that terrorists are planning an assault at airports or hijackings.

    India's air chief marshal, Fali Homi Major acknowledges warnings of a 9/11 type aerial attack have been discussed by military service heads.

    "This is based on little warning which has been received, that's all. Nothing else," he said. "We are prepared, as usual."

    When asked whether airport security would ber stregthened further, Major stated that he "can't reveal that."

    India media say sky marshals have been put on some flights and dogs able to sniff explosives are being deployed at airports. Passengers are going through an additional layer of body frisking and hand-baggge inspections before they board aircraft.

    As a result of the Civil Aviation Bureau's "anti-hijacking alert," domestic passengers are being asked to arrive at affected airports two hours, in advance, and those taking international flights should check in four hours before departure.

    India's military and intelligence agencies have been stung by allegations that they had information - including relayed telecommunications intercepts from the U.S. government - which, if acted upon, could have prevented the Mumbai attacks.