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11 die in India court bomb attack

A bomb hidden in a briefcase has ripped through a crowd of people waiting to enter a New Delhi court, killing 11 people and wounding scores more.

An al Qaida-linked group claimed responsibility for the attack, but government officials said it was too early to name a suspect.

The attack outside the High Court came despite a high alert across the city and renewed doubts about India's ability to protect even its most important institutions despite overhauling security after the 2008 Mumbai siege.

The government urged people to remain strong.

"We will never succumb to the pressure of terrorists," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said. "This is a long war in which all political parties and all the people of India will have to stand united so that this scourge of terrorism is crushed."

The bomb exploded near a queue of more than 100 people waiting at a reception counter for passes to enter the court to have their cases heard. The blast wounded 76 other people.

Police were scouring the city for possible suspects, searching hotels, bus and railway stations and the airport

Police also released two sketches based on descriptions given by eyewitnesses who claimed they had seen someone with a briefcase waiting outside the building.

An email sent to several TV news channels claimed the bombing on behalf of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, an Islamic extremist group said to be based in Pakistan that was blamed for numerous terror strikes in India. The group has deep ties to al Qaida, and some of its members have trained at the group's camps.

The bombing was the first major terror attack in India since a trio of blasts in Mumbai killed 26 people on July 13. Suspicion for those attacks fell on the shadowy extremist network known as the Indian Mujahedeen, but no one has been arrested.

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