Bomb Blast At India’s High Court Kills 11
A suspected briefcase bomb has exploded at an entrance to the high court in New Delhi, killing 11 people.
The blast in India’s capital also injured at least 76 people, according to officials.
The bomb dug a metre-deep crater near the main reception counter where passes are issued for lawyers and visitors to enter the sprawling sandstone building before the main security checkpoint.
The roof of a reception area, known as gate five, was also torn off by the blast.
The complex was sealed off by special forces to allow forensic officers and sniffer dogs to examine the scene.
The explosion shook the court facility, sending lawyers and judges fleeing outside, said Sanjiv Narula, a lawyer who was in the building.
Sangeeta Sondhi, another lawyer, who was parking her car near the gate when the bomb exploded, said: “There was smoke everywhere. People were running. People were shouting.
“There was blood everywhere. It was very, very scary.”
A Muslim militant group later claimed responsibility for the blast in an email.
Authorities said they were investigating the claim of responsibility allegedly made by the Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami militant group – an al Qaeda affiliate with bases in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Ilyas Kashmiri, who US authorities believe was recently killed in Pakistan, was the head of the group and a senior al Qaeda member.
Meanwhile, the government in New Delhi rallied Indians to remain defiant in the face of such attacks.
“We will never succumb to the pressure of terrorists,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said during a visit to neighbouring Bangladesh.
“This is a long war in which all political parties and all the people of India will have to stand united so that this scourge of terrorism is crushed.”
Officials have not discounted the possibility that the incident relates to some kind of civil dispute involving an aggrieved individual.
The blast was the second at the court this year. On May 25, a small explosion that appeared to be a failed car bomb erupted in the court parking area.
Wednesday’s bombing, which happened shortly after 10am, is the first major terror attack in India since a string of bombs exploded in three busy Mumbai neighbourhoods on July 13, killing 20 people.
In neighbouring Pakistan, two suicide bombers attacked the house of a top military officer in the south western city of Quetta, killing his wife and 22 other people, authorities said.
At least eight of the dead were believed to be military personnel. The Pakistan Taliban later claimed responsibility for the attack.
It said the dual strike was in revenge for the recent arrests of three top al Qaeda suspects in Quetta, an operation that was assisted by America’s CIA.
Quetta is known to harbour al Qaeda and Taliban militants and targets within the city have been frequently attacked over the past four years.