Indian Police Detain 3 in Court Bomb Investigation

Posted September 8th, 2011 at 5:10 am (UTC-5)
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Indian police have detained three people for questioning and released sketches of two suspects in connection with Wednesday's deadly bomb attack outside the High Court building in New Delhi.

At least one of those in police custody is the owner of an Internet cafe in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Police are investigating whether al-Qaida-linked militants used his cybercafe to e-mail a claim of responsibility for the attack, which killed 12 people and wounded some 76 others.

Authorities received an e-mail attributed to the group, Harkat-Ul-Jihad al-Islami, shortly after Wednesday's blast. It warned that other courts in the country would be attacked unless India repealed the death sentence given to a man convicted in connection with the 2001 attack on India's parliament.

Police are blaming the violence on what they call a “medium intensity bomb” hidden in a briefcase near a main gate to the courthouse, a place where people gather to enter the building.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the bombing as “cowardly” and urged Indians to stand together so that the “scourge of terrorism is crushed.” Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also condemned the attack and expressed hope that the perpetrators will be brought to justice.

A United Nations spokesman said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his solidarity with the government and people of India, saying there is no justification for indiscriminate violence against civilians.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also condemned the bombing, saying United States stands with India in confronting the global challenge of terrorism.

Similar condemnations were issued by the leaders of Britain and France.

Wednesday's blast is the first major terror attack in India since near-simultaneous triple bomb blasts targeted India's financial capital, Mumbai, in July, killing some 20 people. No one has been arrested in that case, but authorities say they have focused their investigation on the domestic Indian Mujahideen militant group.

It also is the second explosion at the High Court this year. In May, a small bomb exploded outside the same court, but did not cause any casualties.