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Maharashtra govt takes 26/11-like attack message "seriously", 1 detained

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Mumbai, Aug 20: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said that the government has taken the threat message "very seriously" and the agencies have been directed to investigate the matter.

Maharashtra govt takes 26/11-like attack message seriously, 1 detained

"We have taken the case of the threat message (26/11-like terrorist attack on Mumbai) very seriously. Agencies have been informed of all measures to investigate the threat matter. Mumbai CP will give further details of the case," ANI quoted Maharashtra's Dy CM Devendra Fadnavis as saying.

Taking note of the 26/11-like terrorist attack threat received by Mumbai Police on Saturday, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the government has taken the message "very seriously" and added that the agencies have been directed to investigate the matter.

A threat message warning of a 26/11-like terrorist attack was sent to the WhatsApp number of Mumbai Police traffic control from a Pakistan-based phone number. The threat message states that 6 people will execute the plan in India. A case has been registered against unidentified persons under section 506 (2) of Indian Penal Code at the Worli Police Station This comes days after a boat with 3 AK-47 guns and ammunition was recovered at Harihareshwar Beach.

Mumbai police received text messages warning of a "26/11-like" attack on the city from a phone number with Pakistan's country code and a person has been detained in this connection, officials said on Saturday.

A man was detained from Virar near Mumbai and the Mumbai crime branch team which is probing the threat messages is questioning him, sources said. The messages were received on WhatsApp on a helpline number of traffic police's Worli control room around 11:45 on Friday night.

While one message said that six people will execute the attack, another said preparations were on to blow up Mumbai which will bring back the memories of the 26/11 attack, officials said.

"Police received messages around 11.45 pm on Friday, which threatened that a 26/11-like attack would be carried out in Mumbai and the city would be blown up. There was a mention of 26/11 attacks terrorist Ajmal Kasab and (deceased) Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in the messages," city police commissioner Vivek Phansalkar said at a press conference on Saturday.

"It was also mentioned that some of their aides were working in India. Prima facie, the threat messages came from a number that has the country code of Pakistan," he added.

Police have taken the messages seriously, he said, assuring that citizens' safety and security was police's responsibility. "Necessary measures are being taken to investigate the threat messages. We are alert on coastal security and are coordinating with the Coast Guard," he added.

'Sagar Kavach' operation has been launched and coastal security beefed up, the police commissioner added. The ten Pakistani terrorists including Kasab who caused mayhem in Mumbai and killed at least 166 persons had arrived in the city by sea route on November 26, 2008.

Phansalkar, meanwhile, said a First Information Report (FIR) was being registered under Indian Penal Code section 506 (2) (criminal intimidation) at Worli Police Station regarding the threat messages.

The crime branch is also sharing the information with the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, he added. Police were also investigating the numbers and persons mentioned in the messages, he said, adding that these numbers were Indian ones.

Asked about the fact that the messages were in Hindi and not in Urdu and whether there was an attempt to create a fake IP address so that the messages would appear to have come from a Pakistani number, he said, "We can not rule out any possibility without investigation."

Police are already on high alert during the ongoing festive season, he said. The threat messages were received a day after a yacht was found off the Raigad coast near Mumbai with AK-47 rifles and live rounds on board, causing a scare, although officials said that there was no terror angle in it.

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