Even as India braces itself for another Pune-style attack, investigations into the German Bakery blast on Saturday — which has so far claimed nine lives — suggest the involvement of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyeba. List of victims
“It looks like a combined effort, commanded by the Lashkar leadership in Pakistan and executed by IM sleeper cells,” said a senior security official. “US citizen David Headley is the man Lashkar used to conduct the recce.”
Home Ministry officials in Delhi said the explosives used in the first major terror attack after 26/11 could be a cocktail of ammonium nitrate and RDX along with shrapnel and nails. The ingredients, said an officer speaking on condition of anonymity, point to the IM, which used RDX in the Jaipur and Ahmedabad blasts.
Security officials said the probe would focus on the IM. “Since they are the ones executing the plans, investigators are trying to work backwards to identify them,” an official said, adding that intelligence agencies are scanning CCTV footage from the hotel opposite the bakery to identify the man who allegedly planted the backpack with the explosives.
Pune Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh refused to comment on the involvement of IM. “We are investigating every possible angle… I am confident that we will be able to crack it very soon,” he said.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who visited Pune on Sunday, said the attack was not because of “intelligence failure”. However, an intelligence alert had reportedly been issued of a possible terror strike in Maharashtra on or before February 18.
This alert had come after a Lashkar-trained terrorist from Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami(B) (HUJI-B) — Sheikh Abdul Khwaja, arrested from Hyderabad in January — had told intelligence agencies that explosives were being ferried from various parts of the country to Maharashtra. Khwaja alias Amjad had also revealed that he had met wanted IM operatives in Karachi, including its co-founder Riyaz Bhatkal.
Officials are concerned that the next targets may be Delhi, Kanpur and Indore as these areas are suspected to have IM members. Delhi and Kanpur were referred to in a speech by Hafiz Abdur Rahman Makki, leader of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a Lashkar front, at a meeting in Pak-occupied Kashmir on February 5.
The IM was believed to have been finished after the Batla House encounter in Delhi in September 2008.