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India issues nationwide terror alert

December 28, 2010

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Police have been searching since Friday for four men who authorities believe entered Mumbai to carry out a terrorist attack. — Photo by AFP

NEW DELHI: India increased security in major cities across the country Tuesday after receiving information that banned militant group Lashkar-i-Taiba was planning an attack over New Year's weekend.

More police were deployed to city streets, including in India's financial capital, Mumbai, which was attacked in 2008. Airports and railway stations and the popular beach resort state of Goa all tightened security following intelligence reports that Lashkar-i-Taiba was planning to target these places, an official with the Home Ministry said. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

India has taken even minor terror threats seriously since a three-day terrorist siege killed 166 people in Mumbai, though there has been no major attack there since.

Police have been searching since Friday for four men who authorities believe entered Mumbai to carry out a terrorist attack. Computer-aided photographs of the four suspects were released.

On Tuesday, police made house-to-house searches in some parts of Mumbai, and tightened security checks at bus and train stations, churches and markets.

In the 2008 attack, 10 armed terrorists fanned out across Mumbai attacking two luxury hotels, a Jewish centre and a railway station.

In March, Mumbai police said they prevented a major terrorist strike after they arrested two Indian men, who, police said, were preparing to hit several targets in the city.

Then in September, police issued a terror alert for the city during a popular Hindu festival. Police said they had information that two militants were planning a terror strike and that the men were acting on directions from handlers allegedly residing in Pakistan.