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Qaeda trying to spread its tentacles in India

delhi Updated: Jul 14, 2011 00:12 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The German Bakery blast was handiwork of al Qaeda and Ayman al-Zawahiri wanted to release a video message claiming responsibility for the terror strike, slain Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad had revealed this information in his book, titled ‘Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taleban — beyond bin Laden and 9/11', which was released just before he was kidnapped in Islamabad and killed.

Shahzad had also warned that Qaeda wants to expand its footprint in India and Bangladesh. Shahzad was considered an authority on al Qaeda affairs in Pakistan.

According to the book, al Zawahiri didn’t claim the responsibility for German Bakery blast, which took place on February 13, 2010 in Pune, as it was considered a small operation and did not match up to the scales of al Qaeda. There were many prior indications also that Qaeda might have something to do with the blast .

Slain al Qaeda leader Mustafa Abu al-Yazid had claimed responsibility for German Bakery blast in a message released in July 2010.

Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri, a militant active in Kashmir who became military chief of al Qaeda in Pakistana few months before his death had also hinted that the blast was handiwork of his Osama’s organisation. He had sent a mail to Shahzad immediately after the blast hinting his involvement in the terror strike.

Laskar-e-Taiba operative and ISI agent David Coleman Headley, who made videos of targets for the 26/11 attack, had also made videos of areas around German Bakery. Headley had said in his testimony in the Chicago trial of Tahawwur Husain Rana that he had provided these videos to his al Qaeda links in Pakistan.

According to intelligence agencies, though the Maharashtra ATS filed a chargesheet in the German Bakery case, they still treat the case as unsolved as those chargesheeted had only peripheral role in the case.

According to intelligence sources, the Jama Masjid firing (September 2010) and Varanasi blast (December 2010) looks to be handiwork of same group but the German Bakery blast was carried out by another module that is yet to be detected fully.

Now Wednesday’s blasts in Mumbai show a module is very much active in the financial capital of the country. It is yet to be investigated how closely this module is linked with al Qaeda.