A Pakistan-based terrorist group that is closely linked to al Qaeda has claimed credit for a bombing today that killed 11 people and wounded scores more at a security checkpoint outside the Delhi High Court.
A bomb planted in a briefcase was detonated at a queue where lawyers and other visitors obtain security passes. Police said that 11 people have been killed so far and 76 more were wounded, some critically. The blast left a "deep crater" in the ground.
The Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, or HUJI, said it detonated the bomb to force India to repeal a death sentence of Afzal Guru, who has been placed on death row for the December 2001 terror assault on the Indian Parliament that killed six policemen, a civilian, and five members of the assault team. The Pakistan-based Lashakr-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad carried out the 2001 attack in Delhi.
HUJI sent an email to Indian news agencies immediately after the attack to claim it.
"We owe the responsibility of todays blasts at high court delhi..... our demand is that Afzal Guru's death sentence should be repealede immediately else we would target major high courts & THE SUPREME COURT OF... [sic]," the email read, according to the Hindustan Times.
HUJI is an al Qaeda-linked group that operates in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. The US designated HUJI as a terrorist entity in 2010, and its leader, Ilyas Kashmiri, was also added to the list of global terrorists.
Kashmiri has also been linked to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, which has viewed him as an asset due to his prowess in fighting the Indians in Jammu and Kashmir.
The US believes Kashmiri was killed in a Predator airstrike in South Waziristan on June 3. But questions have emerged about Kashmiri's death, as the martyrdom statement is suspect and a photo of Kashmiri's purported corpse was actually that of a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative who was killed during the terror assault on Mumbai in November 2008. Indian intelligence officials now believe that Kashmiri faked his death in an attempt to dodge the Predators and the US special operations forces who entered Pakistan to kill bin Laden.
[For more information on problems with reports of Kashmiri's death, see LWJ report, Questions emerge over HUJI's statement on al Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri's death, and Threat Matrix reports, Is Ilyas Kashmiri really dead? and Kashmiri faked death: Indian intelligence.]
Wikipedia - Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI)
On August 6, 2010 the United States and the United Nations designated Harakat-ul Jihad al-Islami as a foreign terror group and blacklisted its commander Ilyas Kashmiri. State Department counterterrorism coordinator Daniel Benjamin asserted that the actions taken demonstrated the global community's resolve to counter the group's threat. "The linkages between HUJI and Al-Qaeda are clear, and today's designations convey the operational relationship between these organizations," Benjamin said.