A bomb hidden inside a briefcase detonated at the entrance to the High Court in New Delhi this morning, killing 11 people and wounding at least 69 more. The blast tore through a crowd of people lined up to pass through security and enter the highest appeals court beneath the Supreme Court of India. It was the deadliest terror attack in India since the Mumbai massacre three years ago.
A Muslim terror group with a history of violent attacks in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh claimed responsibility, as reported by the BBC:
Investigators said they were taking seriously an email claim by the extremist group Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami (Huji) that it planted the bomb.
“It would be very premature to make any comment on the mail at this stage, but yes, that mail has to be looked at seriously, because Huji is a very prominent terrorist group,” SC Sinha, Director General of India’s National Investigation Agency, told reporters.
The email reportedly demands that a man sentenced to death for involvement in an attack on Delhi’s parliament ten years ago should not be hanged.
The BBC goes on to note “the leader of Huji, Ilyas Kashmiri, was reportedly killed in a US drone strike in north-western Pakistan in June.”
The carnage from the bomb, carefully positioned to inflict maximum casualties on a dense crowd of civilians, was horrible:
Eyewitness Chanakya Dwivedi told the BBC the blast took place just before the first security checkpoint.
“As I was just about to enter the Chief Justice’s court, I heard a huge bang that shook the building and gave the effect of an earthquake,” he said.
“After 20 seconds’ commotion, I saw huge smoke on the front gate… It was a bomb blast with blood all around and lot of people crying.”
The Financial Times talked to eyewitnesses who claim the body count was even higher than the current official estimate, with at least “25 people dead besides those who were horribly injured.”
The Times of India carried a swift and strong statement from the U.S. embassy:
“The US remains shoulder-to-shoulder with India in the fight against terror, and will provide whatever assistance possible to help bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice,” United States Charge d’Affaires Peter Burleigh said in a statement.
“Terrorism is a crime that affects us all. Bombings like today’s demonstrate that our shared struggle continues against those who would commit such atrocities,” he added.
“On behalf of all Americans, I extend deep condolences to the government of India and the families of those harmed in this morning’s attacks on the New Delhi High Court,” Burleigh said.
New Dehli and Mumbai are said to be on high alert. The entire civilized world should be on high alert, as the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches.