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3 questioned as India scrambles for leads on bombing that killed 12 outside New Delhi court
NEW DELHI (AP) ' Indian authorities were questioning an Internet cafe owner and two other people Thursday as they scrambled for leads into a powerful briefcase bomb that tore through the crowds outside a New Delhi courthouse, killing 12 people.
Investigators were studying the authenticity of two emails claiming responsibility. The first was sent to TV news channels hours after Wednesday's blast and sought a commuted sentence for a Kashmiri man condemned for a 2001 attack on Parliament.
The email threatened to target more courts and was allegedly from Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, said to be based in Pakistan, deeply tied to al-Qaida and blamed for numerous terror strikes in India.
The second email was sent Thursday, allegedly by the domestic Indian Mujahedeen, the NDTV television channel reported. The group is suspected of triple blasts in Mumbai in July that killed 26 people. The email threatened another attack outside a mall.
Police in Indian Kashmir said investigators traced the first email to an Internet cafe in the disputed Himalayan region's Kishtwar area and detained the owner and two other residents for questioning.
Authorities also were searching various locations in Kishtwar but police would not provide more details.
The bomb exploded Wednesday morning near more than 100 people waiting in line for passes to enter the High Court building to have their cases heard.
The impact left a deep crater on the road and shook the building, creating panic and sending lawyers and judges running outside. The blast killed 12 people and wounded 80 others.
The investigation was immediately handed over to the National Investigation Agency, created after the 2008 Mumbai siege to investigate and prevent terror attacks.
Police put all roads out of the city under surveillance and released sketches Wednesday of two men witnesses said were waiting outside the building with a briefcase.
The court bombing was the first major attack in India since serial blasts in Mumbai killed 26 people on July 13. Suspicion fell on the Indian Mujahedeen, though no arrests have been made.
The bomb struck the High Court, an appeals panel below India's Supreme Court, even though the capital is on high alert because Parliament is in session. A small explosion on May 25 in a parking lot at the same court building appeared to have been a failed car bomb.
Wednesday's attack was reminiscent of a string of deadly bombings in 2008, including a series in New Delhi on Sept. 13 that killed 21 people. Many were blamed on militant groups composed of disaffected Muslims perceiving injustice in the Hindu-majority nation.
Those attacks abated after the November 2008 siege in which 10 Pakistan-based militants terrorized India's commercial capital for 60 hours, killing 166 people.
The recent attacks have renewed worries about a return of the violence.