New Delhi Attack Plot Foiled

INDIA'S home minister says police have foiled a major attack by suspected militants from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) group who were caught with explosives at a rail station.



INDIA'S home minister says police have foiled a major attack by suspected militants from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) group who were caught with explosives at a rail station.

Home Minister P Chidambaram said two men were arrested at New Delhi's main station after a tip-off from intelligence agencies and work by three state police agencies.

"They were planning to detonate a bomb or more than one bomb in a crowded locality," he said, citing initial reports from the police investigation.

The pair are to be produced before a local court and detained for 10 days.

An unspecified number of other suspects had also been detained in connection with the alleged plot, Mr Chidambaram said.

Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), which means The Army of the Pure in Urdu, is one of the most powerful militant groups in Pakistan and is blamed for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that left 166 people dead.

Mr Chidambaram said it was "an important module" of the group that had been planning a "terrorist incident in Delhi".

Neither he nor the police, who also reportedly said an attack had been imminent, would disclose when the men were detained.

The arrests, if followed by convictions, would be an intelligence coup for the Indian security forces which have been criticised for failing to prevent, or catch those responsible for, a string of blasts over the last few years.

In Pakistan, the foreign ministry said India had conveyed nothing official about the arrests or the foiling of an attack.

"We do not comment on news reports," a ministry official said.

"Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and itself has suffered a lot," he said.

The Pakistani army says around 3000 soldiers have been killed fighting militants and according to an AFP tally, around 5000 people have been killed in gun and bomb attacks blamed on the Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked groups.

New Delhi has also been a frequent target for terror attacks.

In September, a bomb outside Delhi High Court killed 14 people, while in early February a bomb blast badly wounded an Israeli diplomat in the heart of the city near the prime minister's residence.

A senior New Delhi police official, PN Agarwal, told reporters that security forces had recovered material for making bombs from the suspects.

"We have recovered items required for making an IED (improvised explosive device), passports and memory cards that show how to make a bomb and training in weapons handling," Mr Agarwal said. "We are expecting one or two more arrests."