There is every reason to see the September 19 firing at a tourist bus (in which two Taiwanese tourists were injured) near Delhi’s iconic structure Jama Masjid as a terrorist act that was intended to kill scores of people. What is frightening is that the terrorists’ mission objective was in fact much deadlier. The shooting at the bus was intended to draw milling crowds to the initial accident site where a car bomb, placed nearby, was waiting to explode within minutes. Apparently the terrorists had gone about this operation in haste and, mercifully for the people of Delhi, the bomb failed to detonate.
The Indian Mujahideen took responsibility for this latest attack with its trademark email the same day, signed by one Al Arbi. The text of the message establishes that the perpetrators’ masters have some facility in English as well as in the Quran.
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It’s not surprising that the IM this time chose to strike in the run-up to the Delhi Commonwealth Games. It would be a dream for an anti-India terrorist outfit of any variety or ideology to hit the heart of the country when live international coverage is guaranteed. The bus attack might have been a mere dress rehearsal for terrorists planning to strike when the Games themselves are underway.
In fact, the Delhi security brass has already been sent into a tizzy with the Mujahideen hinting that it will launch suicide attacks during the Games, something it has never done before. An (unedited) portion of the Al Arbi email reads:
‘On the one hand Muslim blood is flowing like water, while on the other hand you are preparing for the festival of games. This is surely not a child's play. Mind you this is the initiative from the Lions of Allah and we warn you to host the Commonwealth Games if you have a grain of salt. We know that the preparations for the Games are at its peak. Beware we too are preparing in full swing for a great surprise. The participants will be solely responsible for the outcome as our bands of Mujahideens love death more than you love life.’
The last sentence was highlighted in red ink.