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Terror attack at Delhi High Court: 10 dead, 56 injured

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Delhi: A powerful blast took place at 10:15 am this morning at the Delhi High Court at Gate no 5. Police said 10 people have died and about 56 people have been been injured; six of them have been described as being in very critical condition. The injured have been taken to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital; most have shrapnel injuries.

The Home Ministry has confirmed it was a terror attack and has issued a nation-wide alert. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram made a short statement on the blast in Parliament. He said intelligence information on possible terror attacks in Delhi had been shared with Delhi Police in July this year. He also said it was not possible at this stage to identify which terror group was responsible for the blast. But, the home minister said, forensic experts were at the blast site examining evidence, the National Investigation Agency was handling the case and that the government would ensure the perpetrators were punished. Mr Chidambaram asked people to remain united. After making his statement in Parliament, the Home Minister visited the site of the blast.

In Dhaka, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, "It's a cowardly act, we will not succumb." (Read)

Police said the bomb was kept in a briefcase near Gate no 5 at the High Court, where passes for entry into court are made for litigants and visitors. (Watch) Early reports indicated that it was not a crude blast and that a sophisticated explosive device was used to cause the high intensity. So powerful was the blast that a crater three to four feet deep was caused, police said. Sources said ammonium nitrate might have been used in the bomb.

Sources have also confirmed that the gates of the Delhi High Court do not have Close Circuit TV cameras. This security lapse was highlighted in May this year when a bomb exploded in a parking lot near the same court, but cameras had not been installed yet. The Delhi High Court is in the heart of the national capital, close to important places like Parliament House and India Gate.

At gate No 5, 100 to 200 people were waiting in queue to get passes for entry into the court complex when the blast took place.

The High Court was evacuated soon after the blast, a team of the National Security Guard (NSG) are at the spot and, along with the police, are collecting forensic evidence. Bomb disposal squads with sniffer dogs have santised the area and confirmed that there is no other bomb in the area. The police have cleared and blocked the area around the site of the blast.

Meanwhile, Mumbai has been put on high alert.

The police control room received a phone call from the court at about 10.15 am requesting help. The blast took place just before the court opened for hearings. Court business is usually heavy on Wednesday which is listed as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) day when the visitors come to the court in large numbers. Gate no 5 is also the entrance closest to the parking area.

"It was a powerful blast... there is a lot of blood there," said a shocked woman lawyer, who was just driving up to work at the Delhi High Court when the explosion took place.

Lawyers said the blast could be heard at the Patiala House courts a few kilometres away. Kavita, an eyewitness said she was in a judge's chamber when she heard the blast. "The windows rattled," she said.

In May this year, a blast took place in a car in a parking lot near the cafeteria of the High Court. At that time, nobody was injured. Police now say that could have been a dry run for today's attack.

Here are the emergency helpline numbers:

RML hospital: 011-23348200, 23404446, 23743769, 23404478
AIIMS: 011-26588700
Safdarjung Hospital Helpline: 011- 26707444

Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/terror-attack-at-delhi-high-court-10-dead-56-injured-131933

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