Saturday, December 31, 2005

Hunt on for terror suspects

Hunt on for terror suspects

The Hindu

No breakthrough yet in attack on IISc; security tightened for New Year's Eve

BANGALORE: While the Bangalore police are yet to achieve a breakthrough in Wednesday's terrorist attack at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), experts say the grenades found on the premises were made in China and were of "Warsaw Pact origin."

Sources in the State police told The Hindu that the three grenades, an AK-56 assault rifle and live bullets recovered from the scene were made in China. Classified as "anti-personnel grenades," they were used against tank crew during wars.

Such grenades were used during the hijacking of aircraft and they caused a serious impact in a compact area. Had the grenades exploded on the IISc campus, several persons would have been killed, the sources said.

The police have recovered live bullets of a 7.62 Takare pistol from the scene. "The attacker, who opened fire from the AK-56 rifle, has left it behind and carried the pistol with him," the sources said.

A Urdu newspaper copy, on which "Ganganagar" was scribbled, was found.

Commissioner of Police Ajay Kumar Singh told presspersons that "on credible information, we have sent a team outside the State for investigation."

Three held in Hyderabad

Sources in the city police said the team, led by a Deputy Commissioner, was sent to Hyderabad, where three suspected terrorists have been arrested. "We are yet to ascertain whether the three have any link with the attack," they said.

Mr. Singh released to the media a computer-generated portrait of the suspected attacker, prepared with eyewitness inputs. The suspect is said to be in his late twenties and about 5.9-ft. tall. He said indications were that the attacker was alone. He was not sure if the attacker had reached the spot in a vehicle.

Mr. Singh said the Bangalore police were in touch with their counterparts in Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad and the Intelligence Bureau. "The security agencies in all these places have told us that they had no definite prior information on the attack on the IISc."

He said a special team, led by a Deputy Inspector-General and comprising a Deputy Commissioner, three Assistant Commissioners and five inspectors, was investigating the case. The police would coordinate with IISc authorities in devising a security system for the institute.

Security checks

Mr. Singh said that in the wake of the fax message received by some newspapers in the city on Thursday night that "Al-Jihadees" would trigger explosions at Hotel Grand Ashoka and the Chief Minister's residence on the night of December 31, anti-sabotage checks were conducted at both places. The police did not find any explosive.

Security was heightened for New Year Eve celebrations and quick reaction teams from the Army would be deployed.

Hoax calls

Mr. Singh said some calls, received on Friday stating bombs were planted in a few places, turned out to be a hoax.

To a question, he said the police would take up with the higher-ups the issue of establishing a special counter-intelligence unit in the city. The government decided to raise the level of mobile patrolling.

Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh, who participated in a civil-military liaison conference, said security was provided to Hotel Grand Ashoka.

Major General B. Shivashankar, General Officer Commanding, Southern Area, said the fact that one of the grenades recovered from the IISc campus had its pin removed but did not explode indicated that it was defective.

Director-General and Inspector-General of Police B.S. Sial told presspersons that dry dates found in a bag recovered on the campus showed that the "attackers were not local people."


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