New Delhi (CNSNews.com) - The Central Intelligence Agency has reportedly warned the Indian government that Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden may be preparing to bomb a range of American installations in India.
Officials of the Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB) agency Wednesday confirmed receiving a message from the CIA saying that bin Laden was incensed by the recent arrest of several of his associates by New Delhi police and was planning to attack U.S. embassies and other facilities in retaliation.
Following the CIA communication, Indian intelligence operatives said they have been monitoring telephone numbers of suspected associates of bin Laden's Al-Qaida group.
"It is possible that some members of Al-Qaida might have slipped into the country to spread terror," particularly during the upcoming July 14-16 summit between Indian Prime Minster Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistan leader Pervez Musharraf, an IB official said on condition of anonymity.
A massive surveillance operation had been launched in suspect areas to "nip the evil in the bud," he added.
New Delhi-based defense analyst Rahul Banerjee said the summit could be seen as a likely time to attack because security forces would be preoccupied.
"Available information indicates that Osama and his accomplices may have chosen the period of the crucial Indo-Pak summit next month to carry out the blasts, as during that time the entire security apparatus of the Indian government is likely to be focused towards the summit," he said.
Meanwhile, Indian security agencies are hunting for an Iranian national suspected of providing technical know-how to a Sudanese terrorist planning to bomb U.S. embassies in South Asia.
The Sudanese man, Abdeel Raouf Hawash, was recently arrested by Delhi police, who say he admits acting under the direction of bin Laden and planning to carry out serial blasts at American embassies in New Delhi, India and Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The CIA message follows reports that bin Laden's group is planning strikes against U.S. and Israeli interests.
The U.S. put its Navy ships in the Gulf to sea on Sunday after the Pentagon received what officials described as "credible information regarding an imminent terrorist threat."
The U.S. holds bin Laden responsible for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed more than 200 people. He is also suspected of links to the bombing of the USS Cole in Aden last October, an attack that cost 19 sailors' lives.
He is being sheltered by the fundamentalist organization ruling most of Afghanistan, the Taliban.