India warns of hijack threat to national carrier

Security measures in all major airports of India have been strengthened following the intelligence reports of hijack plans by groups linked to Al-Qaeda, the interior ministry stated on Friday. “We have alerted our civil aviation security people against a possible attempt to hijack an Indian airlines flight,” told reporters the special secretary for internal security in the Home (interior) Ministry. “This would obviously be from terrorist groups who are arraigned against Indian interests,” he added, but did not specify which group.Meanwhile, Amjad Khwaja, the commander of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) terrorist outfit, who was arrested by the Chennai police on January 18, disclosed on Friday plans of a deadly plot to hijack Indian planes.
Intelligence sources stated that the target is possibly an Air India/Indian Airlines aircraft operating to and from any one of the SAARC countries.

The warning comes ahead of the country’s Republic Day on Tuesday. The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation has directed to boost up security measures in all major airports. The alert comes just days after Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that terror groups linked to Al-Qaeda was trying to incite a new war between India and Pakistan.