Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pune Blast: Video by Al-Qaeda leader was inspiration for attack

The Mumbai ATS claimed to make a major breakthrough in the Pune blasts after it announced the arrest of two persons. In a press conference, the ATS announced that the suspects Bilal Ahmed Ansari were arrested from Pune while Himayat Baig was arrested from Nashik.

According to sources in the Indian Intelligece Bureau, the case appears to have a wider ramification than just the case on hand. It has now been ascertained that the two persons who are presently in custody belonged to the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Indian Mujahideen.

Over the past one year, the IB, Police and also the RAW have collected material in connection with this blast and they see a foreign hand in this attack. The most important issue being the emergence of a new group and this fact will be ascertained during the interrogation of the two persons in custody.

The investigation so far into the Pune blasts has indicated two things- one it could be the first operation by the Al-Qaeda in India and secondly the emergence of a new group called Lashkar-e-Tayiba- Al Almi.

However investigators are tilting more towards an Al-Qaeda and Indian Mujahideen nexus when compared to the role of the LeT- Al Almi. Investigations have shown that there is a bigger possibility of the Al-Qaeda orchestrating this attack since open statements by some of its leaders have been made in the aftermath of this blast. The new group in question which is based out of Pakistan does not appear to show any alliance with any of these terror groups. Moreover, the claim that was made by this group in the aftermath of the blasts does not tally with the statements of the latest two accused who had clearly told the police on their arrest that the motive was to target foreigners. The Al Halmi had claimed that this blast was carried out to send a message to India to solve the Kashmir crisis. The investigators have at the moment dismissed this claim stating that it was some small group trying to gain attention and they are not aware or found any of their modules to be present in India.

The Al-Qaeda link is however the strongest one since there is a lot of evidence pointing towards the same. First and foremost ever since the days of David Headley, the Al-Qaeda has been making all the noises about an attack on India. One of the top leaders of the Al-Qaeda, Ilyas Kashmiri has also been booked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for conspiring with David Headley.

The most clinching evidence that the investigators have on hand with regard to an Al-Qaeda link is a video showing Mustafa Abu- al-Yazid, a top leader of the outfit claiming that the blasts were masterminded by them. Yazid who was later killed in a drone attack has posted this video soon after the blasts and a copy of the same is with the intelligence bureau and also RAW. In the video he also calls upon the rest of his men to take inspiration from the Pune attack.

The Nashik link: Investigators are trying to find the modules that have been set up by the IM and other terror groups in Nashik. Till date there was no trace of any of their modules, but the recent arrest would show that terror groups from across the border have started to operate in this belt.

The Pune module was the strongest one for these groups and they had set shop almost five years back in this city. However the Nashik module appears to be emerging strong now and this primarily was known to be a strong hold of right wing groups who had allegedly masterminded attacks at Nanded and even at Malegaon recently. Investigators say that they would be looking closely at the emergence of these new modules and the interrogation of these two men will give a better and clear picture on the same.

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