India to face any threat from anywhere: Antony (Lead)February 10th, 2009 - 3:50 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi/London, Feb 10 (IANS) India Tuesday asserted that it was prepared for any eventuality after the Al Qaeda threatened it with Mumbai-style strikes if it sought to attack Pakistan.
“Our army is ready to face any threat from anywhere,” said Defence Minister A.K. Antony, reacting to a 20-minute video in Arabic by the terror group sent to the BBC office in Islamabad.
The video released by Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, said to be the Al Qaeda’s military commander in Afghanistan, warns India that it will have to “pay a heavy price” if it tries to attack Pakistan.
He referred to India’s Mumbai “humiliation” in the video in Arabic and said it will face more Mumbai-style attacks, BBC News reported.
In the video, Yazid, who is believed to have been killed in a US drone strike in August 2008, further says: “The Mujahideen will sunder your armies into the ground, like they did to the Russians in Afghanistan.”
As they began examining the video, intelligence officials also pointed out that warnings by the Al Qaeda were not new.
“We will examine the video closely as it is in Arabic. But such threats are not new. There have been earlier threats as well but the security regimen which is in place now shows that our forces are on high alert,” said a top intelligence official who could not be identified because of service protocol.
“The timing of the video itself is very interesting because it comes at a time when US President Obama has said that Pakistan has to ensure that it does not become a safe haven for terrorists,” said another intelligence functionary.
Officials said “standard operating procedures were put in place” following an Al Qaeda threat some years ago.
It was a reference to the terror outfit’s threat in August 2007 where a video compiled by the outfit’s production arm, As-Sahab, proclaimed that the targeting of Tel Aviv, Moscow and Delhi was its legitimate right.
The video had Adam Gaddahn, an American who had risen in the Al Qaeda ranks to become a spokesperson for the organisation, accusing India of killing more than 100,000 Muslims in Kashmir with US blessings.
Gaddahn also lashed out at the US-led “crusade” against Muslims and alleged that diplomatic missions were the bases for anti-Muslim actions.
Earlier, in November 2006, airports across the country were put on high alert following threats from the Al Qaeda that it would blow up airports in Chennai, Kochi, Trichy, Thiruvananthapuram and Coimbatore.
At that time, airport authorities received an anonymous letter warning of an attack and said about 10 Al Qaeda terrorists would break security cordons.