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India puts southern states on high alert
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India Friday put all its southern states on high alert, following intelligence intercepts that terrorists are planning strikes on "soft spots" across south India, a senior Indian Home Ministry official said.

"Five states in south India -- Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerela, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, have been put on high alert. Youths in the age group of 20-30 years have entered into the states to cause terror strikes on soft targets. We have asked the states to look out for any suspicious movement or persons around them," the official said on condition of anonymity.

The terror alert came a day after an alert was sounded across Andhra Pradesh after the Intelligence Bureau warned the state authorities about the threat.

The state's capital Hyderabad saw two terror attacks in 2007 -- a blast in the Mecca Masjid in May, and twin blasts in August -- that killed over 50 people.

"Since Hyderabad is the target of terrorists, we are taking all security measures. Security is up at information technology companies, bus and railway stations, shopping malls, theatres and defence establishments here, in the coastal city of Visakhapatnam and at the famous Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirupati," the city police chief B Prasada Rao told the media.

The United States has also warned its nationals of possible terror attacks in India. India denied the threat on Thursday claiming the country is safe.

(Xinhua News Agency June 5, 2009)

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