Police kill two militants in India's capital

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The Independent Online

Police shot dead two suspected militants in India's capital today during a raid targeting suspects in last week's bombings in New Delhi that killed 23 people.

"We have shot dead two militants," Karnail Singh, an officer leading the raid, told reporters.

"At least five militants were hiding in an apartment but two fled from the spot and we have caught one," he said.

Police said the raid was carried out after a suspect arrested earlier gave them information on militants hiding in New Delhi.

Singh said one of the dead militants was a close associate of Abdul Subhan Qureshi, alias Tauqeer, a convent-educated computer expert and member of a banned Islamic students' group, who has been named as the chief suspect in the New Delhi attacks.

Authorities claimed today's raid marked significant progress in investigations into those bombings. More than 100 people were also wounded in the blasts.

A Reuters photographer said policemen armed with automatic rifles and pistols surrounded the apartment next to a mosque in a crowded south Delhi neighbourhood.

Witnesses said they heard shooting for about half an hour.

"It is time for Jumma (Friday) prayers and many people are here as there is a large mosque here," a witness told reporters.

The crack of bullets sent hundreds of people scurrying for cover. Women picked up their children and ran indoors and shops closed shutters.

India has intensified security after a series of bomb attacks in four Indian cities in as many months this year killed more than 150 people.

A group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for each of the attacks, saying they were avenging atrocities against Muslims in India.

The government announced on Thursday several measures to tighten its policing and intelligence, including recruiting thousands more policemen and a new counter-terrorism centre to plug what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said were "vast gaps" in the intelligence apparatus.