Lahore, February 16: Just days after the deadly Pune terror attack, top al Qaeda terrorist commander Ilyas Kashmiri has vowed to continue attacks across India.
In a message sent to a media group, Kashmiri, whose 313 Brigade is an operational arm of the al Qaeda, said that his group will attack India until the Army leaves Kashmir.
He also issued a threat against the major sporting events like the Commonwealth Games scheduled to be held in Delhi later this year.
“We warn the international community not to send their people to the 2010 Hockey World Cup, the Indian Premier League and Commonwealth Games – to be held in New Delhi later this year. Nor should their people visit India – if they do, they will be responsible for the consequences,” Kashmiri warned.
The al Qaeda threat comes at a time when India and Pakistan are scheduled to hold bilateral talks on February 25 – first time since the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Pakistan has all along been demanding that the Kashmir issue should be discussed during the talks, while India wants the counter-terror cooperation to be at the centre of all talks.
With regard to the Pune blast, India has been pointing to the involvement of Pak-based groups like Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Lashkar-e-Toiba in the entire conspiracy. The actual attack may have been carried out by Indian Mujahideen but they could have been instigated by the LeT or JuD in Karachi as some arrested operatives had said they were shown videos made by David C Headley, wanted by India in 26/11 terror attacks and under American custody, including clips of the Osho Ashram in Pune.
Home Secretary GK Pillai has also asserted that the Pune attack – which has so far claimed nine lives, including two foreigners – was part of the notorious Karachi Project which was aimed at attacking India.
What has raised doubts about the involvement of the Qaida-LeT-JuD nexus is the mention of Pune attack during the so called Kashmir Solidarity Day conference held by terror groups in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) on February 4.
Hafiz Abdur Rahman Makki, leader of terror outfit amalgam Jamaat-ud-Dawah, in his hate India speech during the conference mentioned about attacks on Indian cities, including Pune.
Makki, brother-in-law of LeT founder and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, in his speech said three Indian cities, including Pune, would be targeted by the “Jihadis to teach India a lesson”.
Saeed, one of the mastermind of the November 26, 2008 Mumbai attacks that were carried out by LeT, too vowed to renew terror attacks in India. JuD is the frontal outfit of Lashkar-e-Toiba.
The Muzaffarabad conference was also addressed by Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, Al-Badr leader Bakht Zamin, United Jehad Council general secretary Sheikh Jamilur Rehman, senior JuD leaders Abdul Aziz Alvi and Abdur Rehman Makki, and former Inter-Services Intelligence agency chief Hamid Gul.