Was Al-Qaeda behind Bangalore bomb blasts?

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Islamabad, April 21 (ANI): Pakistani Ilyas Kashmiri, the chairman of al-Qaeda's military committee, could be behind the Saturday's twin low-intensity bomb blasts which occurred outside Bangalore's M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.

"The two low-intensity bomb blasts outside a cricket stadium in the Indian city of Bangalore on Saturday bear the hallmarks of a broader plan by Pakistani Ilyas Kashmiri, the chairman of Al-Qaeda's military committee and commander of his own 313 Brigade, which has extensive terror expertise, especially in India and in Indian-administered Kashmir," an Asia Times Online report has stated.

As per the report, Kashmiri had previously orchestrated such low-level attacks in preparation for much bigger operations, as happened prior to Mumbai attacks in November, 2008 in which 173 people were killed and at least 308 were injured.

On Saturday (April 18), two explosions injured 16 people outside M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Three other crude bombs were found and defused a day later.

The incident occurred ahead of an Indian Premier League (IPL) match.

The report states that in February in a message to Asia Times Online, Kashmiri had warned of attacks in India by stating: "We warn the international community not to send their people to the 2010 Hockey World Cup, IPL and Commonwealth Games [to be held in Delhi in October]. Nor should their people visit India - if they do, they will be responsible for the consequences."

Although some Indian authorities have attributed the blasts to illegal betting, the attack fits into a pattern that Kashmiri has followed over the years. In this case he is likely to have financed the local underworld to do the job, the report further stated.

Talking about the modus operandi of Ilyas Kashmiri, the report states: "In February, this year, there was a deadly bombing of the German Bakery in Pune which killed nine people, including two foreigners, and injured 57. A shadow organization, the Indian Mujahideen, using words similar to those used by Kashmiri in his message to Asia Times Online, claimed responsibility for the Pune attack, saying it was in retaliation for 60 years of persecution of Muslims in India and against Indian participation in the US-led "war on terror".

Mentioning various probable reasons for the low-level attacks, the repot states it could be to gauge how the Indian security forces react, to test the level of coordination between various security agencies, to see how long it takes elite forces to mobilize and in what manner, or to measure the response of the local populations.

Kashmiri's 313 Brigade adopts a similar approach in Pakistan.

It could be that the IPL was selected only for collecting feedback. More such drills could follow before a big attack, the report by Asia Times Online warned.. (ANI)

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