U.S. issues warning of terrorist attacks in India

Friday, August 11, 2006

The United States Embassy in New Delhi, India has warned citizens in a statement on its website that "foreign terrorists, possibly members of al-Qaeda" may be planning a "series of bombings" that would take place "in or around New Delhi and Mumbai" in India before or during India's celebration of Independence Day on August 15, 2006. The statement also says that the likely "time frame" for the attacks may be around "August 11-16," 2006.

"The Embassy has learned that foreign terrorists, possibly including members of Al-Qaida, allegedly intend to carry out a series of bombing attacks in or around New Delhi and Mumbai (Bombay) in the days leading up to India’s Independence Day on August 15, 2006," said the statement.

The statement warns that "likely targets include major airports, key central Indian government offices, and major gathering places such as hotels and markets."

The statement also warns all Americans in the region to "keep a low profile" and to be "attentive" of their surroundings.

The embassy in New Delhi will be closed on August 15 in recognition of the Indian Independence Day along with the Consulates in Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta. The embassy in New Delhi and the Consulate in Chennai will be closed on August 16 in recognition of Janmashtami (Krishna Jayanthi), also an Indian holiday; however, the embassy in Mumbai and Calcutta will remain open.

The Indian Home Ministry has told New Delhi Police to step up security at all "vital installations" and also asked them to maintain "the highest state of alert."

"All vital installations like bus and railway stations, airports, metro services and government buildings are under the scanner," said Ministry officials.

The Home Ministry also said that the warning should be treated only as an "advisory."

"It is a very innocuous advisory. And that's about it. I have read the advisory. We have no comments," said home secretary VK Duggal.

Indian minister of state for external affairs, Anand Sharma said that the ministry is "aware that there is a threat, as India has been a target for militants."