Indian airports on high alert, IAF braces for aerial terror attack

A CISF personnel maintain a strict vigil at departure terminal of the IGI Airport following Bureau of Civil Aviation Security's terror alert, in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI Photo

New Delhi (PTI): Airports across the country went on high alert on Thursday in the wake of intelligence reports that terrorists from Pakistan or Afghanistan may strike even as the Indian Air Force said it is prepared to counter a 9/11-type aerial attack.

Frisking of passengers and baggage has been intensified; additional paramilitary and police personnel have been deployed especially in Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai airports in the light of reports received by the Government that they may be targeted around the anniversary of Babri Mosque demolition on December 6.

"This (report about terrorists carrying out a possible aerial attack) is based on a warning, which has been received (by the government) and we are prepared as usual," IAF chief Fali Homi Major told reporters here after laying a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate on the occasion of Navy Day.

He said the issue was discussed during the meeting of three service chiefs with Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday at South Block. The reports, which came close on the heels of the bloody Mumbai terror siege, also spoke of possibility of aircraft being hijacked by terrorists.

Authorities have deployed additional contingents of CISF and police inside and outside the Delhi airport, sources said. Passengers have been advised to reach the terminals early for security checks.

At Chennai, over 300 armed guards with assault rifles took position in and around the airport. The first corridor in front of the airport, used for parking of vehicles, has been closed to traffic as Central Industrial Security Force personnel are patrolling the area.

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