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Delhi High Court bombing is latest in a string of major attacks

Today's Delhi High Court bombing killed at least 11 people. Many of the recent terror attacks in India remain unsolved due to what experts call a lack of human intelligence gathering.

By Staff writer / September 7, 2011

Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram, center wearing glasses, inspects the site of a blast outside the High Court in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Sept. 7. A bomb hidden in a briefcase exploded Wednesday outside a crowded entrance to a New Delhi courthouse, the deadliest attack in India's capital in nearly three years.

Mustafa Quraishi/AP


New Delhi

A bomb exploded at a crowded entrance to the Delhi High Court this morning, killing at least 11 people, injuring some 60, and adding to a string of recent terror attacks in India.

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The bomb ripped through a congested area where litigants waited to pick up entrance passes to the court. A blast struck this same court in May. While security was beefed up in response to the earlier attack, no metal detectors were set up near the area where passes are distributed, say lawyers on the scene.

“The people collect there, and there is always a crowd,” says lawyer Vivek Kumar. He described the scene that morning saying: “I felt the tremors [from the bomb]. I saw dust blowing. I saw people running.”

India is wracking up a long list of unresolved terror cases. And it’s not because of a lack of metal detectors or security cameras, but rather a shortage of human intelligence gathering, argue counterterrorism experts.

“The investigating agencies and intelligence agencies and the police have been having difficulties. There has been no successful investigation since the Nov. 26 [2008 Mumbai attacks],” says B. Raman, former head of counterterrorism for India’s spy agency. “It’s not just due to deficiencies in equipment, it’s deficiencies in the human element.”

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The militant group Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) claimed responsibility for the bombing, according to an e-mail received by some Indian media. HUJI has been active in Pakistan, India, as well as Bangladesh, where the Indian Prime Minister is visiting. A US-drone strike reportedly killed one of HUJI’s top commanders, Ilyas Kashmiri, in June. Indian investigators have said they are looking at the e-mail but it’s too early to name any suspects.

Over the past year alone, several high-profile attacks remain unresolved, including the Mumbai blasts in July, the Delhi High Court bomb in May, and a bombing in Varanasi. Go back a few years, and the list just in Delhi grows longer, including market blasts in 2005, mosque bombings at Jama Masjid in 2006 and 2010, and a 2008 explosion at a Mehrauli market.


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