Two Alleged Terrorists Killed in Delhi

Gun battle between cops and alleged terrorists follows bombings in Delhi, India.

September 19, 2008, 7:32 AM

NEW DELHI, India, Sept. 19, 2008 — -- Two alleged terrorists were killed this morning and two more escaped after Indian police raided a home in the Indian capital of Delhi to arrest five men suspected of being involved in bomb blasts in the city last Saturday.

One man was arrested in after the raid, which sparked a gun battle in a heavily populated neighborhood in south Delhi.

Police were tipped off that the men were living near a mosque in the predominantly Muslim neighborhood of Jamia Nagar, according to local reports. Two police officers were injured in the gunfight.

Local reports suggest that the five men were believed to be part of the HuJI (Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islamia) or SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) groups, but Rajan Bhaghat, Delhi police public relations officer, told ABC News that specific information regarding affiliations has not yet been released.

"It will take a while before details will be released," Bhaghat said, who confirmed that one of the men killed was wanted in connection with the Delhi blasts.

After the firefight ended, many people in the neighborhood crowded into the street, shouting religious slogans. "We are all against terrorism, then why was our religious places targeted?" asked one of the residents, according to The Press Trust of India.

Jamia Nagar is the same neighborhood where several suspects were arrested after the suicide attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001.

Today's raid comes after Saturday's blasts, which killed 21 and injured more than 100 people in the capital.

Series of Attacks in India

In recent months, India, the world's largest democracy, has been victim to a series of attacks. The bombs are often hidden in garbage cans in crowded public areas or attached to vehicles like bicycles and auto-rickshaws.

In May, 61 people were killed in a crowded market in Jaipur, a popular tourist destination in Rajasthan known for its pink-walled city. Attacks continued throughout the past summer, including a series of blasts that killed 42 people in Ahmedabad, Gujarat in July. Two people were killed in Bangalore, India's information technology capital, the following night.

A group called the Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility for several of these attacks, including those in Delhi on Saturday. The group -- using the pseudonyms Al-Arbi and Al-Hindi -- sent e-mails to local media outlets around the time of the explosions.

IM is believed to be a hardline splinter group from SIMI, the 20-year-old Islamic liberation group classified by the Indian government as a terrorist outfit. Some 200 associates of SIMI were arrested in July 2006 in connection with the Mumbai train blasts that killed 187 people that month.

Over the past several years, terror attacks in India have become much more common. The death toll from terror attacks in India from 2004 to 2007 is 3,674 -- second only to Iraq during the same time period, according to a report by the National Counter-Terrorism Center in Washington.

Although tension between Hindus and Muslims is often high after attacks, many Hindus interviewed shortly after the bombings on Saturday refused to place the blame on Muslims.

"Terrorism does not have a religion," said 32-year-old Rajiv Aarya.

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