NIA awaiting Home Ministry signal to takeover blast investigations
NIA SP present at the blast site to take over terror investigations when required
Teams of counter-terror sleuths and National Security Guards (NSG) have been sent to the Jehovah Witnesses Church in Kalamassery in Kerala after an improvised explosive device exploded at the Sunday prayer meeting this morning. One woman died and another 23 were injured in the first hinterland blast after many years with CT operatives on the spot.
The blast took place at 9.40 am in the church which at that time had a congregation of 2500 persons.
Preliminary findings from the blast indicate that it was a low-intensity explosion with no shrapnel. Investigators have determined that the explosive device used was a timer-based device, as batteries and wires were discovered at the scene, according to senior officials aware of the development.
The presence of a timer-based device with batteries and wires but no shrapnel suggests a calculated act meant to send more of a signal by terrorists.
The case has not yet been officially handed over to the NIA, but the fact that an NIA SP is present at the scene underscores the gravity of the situation.
While CT agencies are investigating the incident, Kalamassery near Kochi has been witness to Muslim radical activity including PFI in the past. However, the PFI are not known to use IEDs for their extremist activities.
The incident comes a day after former Hamas leader Khaled Mashal addressed a gathering in Malappuram in north Kerala virtually and exhorted the Jamait-e-Islami activists to take action against the non-believers.
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