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Al Qaeda has expanded into the Indian subcontinent, its leader announced Thursday with the launch of a new regional group - Qaedat al-Jihad - that he vowed would bring Islamic law to the region and "wage jihad against its enemies." At least three Indian states with large Muslim populations were put on heightened alert after the announcement, local media reported.
The new group "is the fruit of a blessed effort of more than two years to gather the mujahedeen in the Indian subcontinent into a single entity," Ayman al-Zawahri said in a video seen online by the SITE monitoring group. While the statement referred to the "Indian subcontinent" — a term that most commonly refers to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal — al-Zawahri's comments were seen as directed specifically at India, a mostly Hindu nation with a large Muslim minority. Al-Zawahri said the new group - full name "Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent" - would fight for an Islamic state and laws across the region, "which was part of the Muslims' territories before it was occupied by the infidel enemy."
India has a poor security infrastructure. In 2008, Pakistani militants attacked Mumbai, shutting down the city for days and leaving 166 people dead.
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