India’s security authorities are still struggling for leads to the perpetrators of the savage bomb blasts that left 62 people dead and hundreds injured in two crowded New Delhi markets and a bus Saturday, Oct. 29.
The examination of the explosives is not yet finished; nor is the sifting through of all the calls made from mobile telephones in the vicinity at the time of the attacks.
According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s counter-terror sources, the only clues pointing to Pakistani involvement are the large number of phone calls made from the targeted markets shortly before and after the blasts to phone numbers in Jammu Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Muzaffarabad in Pakistani Kashmir.
Those calls may turn out to be valuable leads or simply peter out.
For now, our counter-terror sources report from the Indian capital, some of the investigators are struck by features of the attack that are strangely similar to elements of the first round of bombing attacks that struck London on July 7.
They count six such features:
1. The terrorist bombers attacked large crowds unable to escape in order to maximize the number of casualties. In London, the victims were trapped in underground trains and a bus, and in New Delhi, they were packed tight in crowds shopping for important Hindu and Muslim festivals.
2. In both places, the terrorists included a single bus full of passengers in their offensive. At first, the British authorities theorized that a bomber hit on the London bus because for some reason he could not reach his predetermined target. Since the Indian attack, they are less sure that a bus was not part of the overall plan.
3. There are similarities in the receptacles chosen to contain the explosives used in the two capitals. In both places, ordinary domestic receptacles were used for the deadly substances – plastic containers or pressure cookers, carried to the scene in large haversacks or bags. In London, however, the men who planted the devices blew themselves up while in New Delhi, they apparently ran away.
4. In both towns, the blasts were closely coordinated and detonated minutes apart.
5. Al Qaeda was in no hurry to take responsibility for either attack.
The claim for the London bombings came two weeks after the event.
For New Delhi, the only claim made on Oct. 30 was not taken seriously since it came from an obscure Kashmir group called Iquilab which patently lacks capabilities for pursuing an operation in this scale.
The first suspect, the Pakistani underground Lashkar e-Toiba, which is linked to al Qaeda, has categorically denied any role in the attacks.
Al Qaeda, for its part, is seemingly making a point of distancing itself from the attacks in India. Unlike previous cases, no hint of responsibility appears in any of its electronic sites, as though the New Delhi bombings never happened.
In the face of al Qaeda’s silence, the Indian investigators toil on amid a dearth of clues.