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November 9, 2001
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Laden planning plane attacks on Delhi: Report

After the Madras police reportedly alerted the Nepalese authorities that Osama bin Laden's men were planning to hijack a plane from the Kathmandu international airport and crash it on a target in New Delhi, security has been beefed up in and around the airport.

A Nepalese daily Kathmandu Post quoting official sources said 'credible information' was passed on to the Nepalese security agencies by the Madras police about a plan to hijack a Singaporean airliner and crash it into New Delhi.

The daily also quoted Jaya Diwan, general secretary of Nepal's foreign airline operators' association, that Madras police had indeed passed such information to the airline authorities.

"We are taking precautionary measures so that this kind of ugly thing does not happen," Diwan was quoted as saying in the paper.

The report said the threat was made to Singapore Airlines, which runs flights from Singapore to Madras to Kathmandu.

Kedar Koirala, a senior security official at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, said the security at the airport was tightened after the threat.

The paper also quoted an anonymous letter received by the authorities as saying that bin Laden's men were already in Kathmandu and planned to hijack a plane and crash it into one of three targets in India -- the US embassy in New Delhi, the office of the Prime Minister or his residence.

The English-language daily said the handwritten letter was mailed from Madras.

Meanwhile, the Union home ministry in New Delhi said it had no information about such a threat.

In December 1999, Pakistan-backed militants had hijacked an Indian Airlines flight, -- IC 814 - originating from Kathmandu and going to New Delhi.

A passenger was killed in the hijack and India had to free three jailed militants to end the hijack.

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