Central & South Asia
India alert after US terror warning
Officials say alert follows intercepted telephonic messages of fighter groups.
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2010 13:22 GMT
The US advisory follows last week's small explosions in the southern city of Bangalore [File: AFP]

Indian police have said they are seriously looking into a US warning of possible attacks on New Delhi shopping centres.

The advisory issued on Wednesday underlined challenges for a city hosting the Commonwealth Games in October.

Rajan Bhagat, the spokesman for Delhi police, said: "Every bit of input is important. We are in a permanent state of alertness, but when we have a specific input we sensitise our staff to any special security needs."

The advisory spoke of "increased indication that terrorists" were planning to attack some of New Delhi's markets frequented by foreigners.

Some of these markets have been bombed in the past.

Last February, an explosion at German Bakery, an established eatery popular with foreigners in the western city of Pune, killed at least 10 people.

The attack was the first this year since the co-ordinated Mumbai attacks of November 2008, which killed more than 150 people.

'Soft targets'

Police say the US alert underscored their suspicion that security at Games venues may prompt "terrorists" to turn to softer targets.

Threats to sporting events were underscored last week when bombs exploded outside a packed cricket stadium in south India, sparking fears the country may not be able to secure multi-city events involving tens of thousands of players and spectators.

India is also holding next year's cricket World Cup across eight cities.

Officials said the basis of the US travel alert was intercepted telephonic messages of Pakistan-based fighter groups.

"We are aware of the nature of the inputs the US State Department has," U K Bansal, a senior interior ministry official, told the Reuters news agency.

New Delhi and other Indian cities are already on high alert, but the specific nature of the US advisory prompted the authorities to hold several security review meetings on Thursday.

Australia and Britain have also issued travel advisories for India.

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