The safety of athletes competing in high-profile sporting events in India is under a cloud, following a terror threat from a Pakistani militant with links to al-Qaeda.
Threatening attacks across India, Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami commander Ilyas Kashmiri has warned international sportspersons not to visit the country for the Hockey World Cup, Indian Premier League and Commonwealth Games.
A former Pakistani commando whose 313 Brigade is an operational arm of al-Qaeda, Kashmiri is the fugitive chief of the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir chapter of the HuJI. He is believed to have directed Lashkar-e-Toiba operative David Coleman Headley in his planning missions for the 26/11 attacks.
Kashmiri’s warning to India was posted by Asia Times Online which said it received his message on Monday morning, shortly after the Pune attack. The message does not specifically claim responsibility for the bombing but implies the involvement of the 313 Brigade, the news portal said in a report datelined Islamabad.
“We warn the international community not to send their people to 2010 Hockey World Cup, IPL and Commonwealth Games… Nor should their people visit India. If they do, they will be responsible for the consequences,” warned Kashmiri.
Indian security expert B. Raman said Kashmiri “is a well-known terrorist figure in Pakistan, so this has to be closely followed up”.