India plays down Al Qaeda threat, says forces on alert


New Delhi : India Monday sought to play down the latest Al Qaeda threat warning that diplomatic missions here are the terror network’s new targets.

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“There is no confirmed news of any such threat till now. However, our forces and the state machinery are always ready to face such threats,” said Minister Of State For Home Sriprakash Jaiswal.

“Our forces are alert to avert any such attempt. I want to appeal to the people that they need not worry about such threats.”

A new Al Qaeda video compiled by the outfit’s production arm, As-Sahab, and released Sunday proclaims that “the targeting of Tel Aviv, Moscow and Delhi” is its “legitimate right”. It also accuses India of “killing more than 100,000 Muslims in Kashmir with US blessings”.

Adam Gaddahn, an American who has risen in the Al Qaeda ranks to become a spokesperson for the organisation, recounts the chilling message in this latest tape lashing out at the US-led ‘crusade’ against Muslims and says diplomatic missions were the bases for anti-Muslim actions.

Just last week, National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan had disclosed that the Al Qaeda had conducted reconnaissance missions to India earlier but aborted the operation.

“But terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba are part of the Al Qaeda. So in a way they (Al Qaeda cells) are already here,” Narayanan said in an interview.

The video, more than an hour long, begins with a slick animation sequence reproducing the March 2006 attack on a US embassy vehicle in Karachi.

The video comes at a time when the group has pledged to strike once again in the US and in Europe and soon after the failed Britain terror plot hatched by a suspected cell of Indian doctors.

US lawmakers have threatened to hit out at Al Qaeda safe havens in Pakistan.

Since the failed attacks in Britain, Indian authorities have asked information technology companies in Bangalore and Hyderabad to step up security.

Karnataka has even set up a new counter terrorism unit for Bangalore on the lines of the force set up in Mumbai, the financial hub of the country.