Commonwealth Games

New security threat in Delhi

2010-10-13 14:24

New Delhi - Commonwealth Games organisers have put their security advisers "on alert" following reports that a Pakistan-based terror group was planning an attack on the games leading up to the closing ceremonies.

Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell on Wednesday said he was unaware of any new or credible terror threat on the eve of the closing ceremonies and the men's and women's marathon along city streets, but said the games' security detail would investigate.

Police and the military seized improvised explosive devices (IEDs) last week in Jammu city, about 580km north of New Delhi. It came as a newspaper said the Lashkar e Taiba terror group might be planning an attack.

"We're not aware of any such threat, but having asked the question, we would certainly put our security people on alert ... and check it out," Fennell said.

The same group carried out the commando-style attack in Mumbai in November 2008 which killed 166 people. In February of this year, a bombing at a popular cafe in the city of Pune killed 16 people.

In unconfirmed reports, London's Daily Mail newspaper said that Indian intelligence authorities had warned of a militant terrorist plot to attack Delhi on Thursday. It said new intelligence indicated that the Pakistan-based group was targeting attacks in the Indian capital, where 64 000 people were expected to travel to the closing ceremonies.

The Indian military and police seized 10 IEDs hidden in apple wooden boxes in Jammu city, an army officer told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Jammu is the winter capital of India's Jammu-Kashmir state

The officer said the destination for the explosives was not immediately known.

The Daily Excelsior, an English-language newspaper in Jammu, reported last Friday that "the possibility that the explosives were to be taken to New Delhi in a bus by one of the militants, who is at large, couldn't be ruled out."

The explosives were seized from four people, including a police official, who have been arrested, said another police officer, also on condition of anonymity.

Indian authorities have deployed nearly 100 000 police and military personnel in the streets of New Delhi and put fighter jets on standby for the Commonwealth Games. A number of athletes pulled out because of security concerns following a recent shooting at a tourist site.

There are more than 6 000 athletes and officials from 71 countries and territories at the games.

Sporting events have previously been targeted in the region. A bomb blast at an Indian Premier League cricket match in April wounded 14 and an attack in Pakistan on the Sri Lankan cricket team's bus en route to a match in Lahore last year giving many athletes concern over attending the games.

Australia's travel advisories ahead of the games indicated that they would be held "in a security environment where there is a high risk of terrorism."

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