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Thursday, 28 December, 2000, 15:21 GMT
Suicide bomber 'was UK Muslim'
Bunker caused by bomb blast
The blast caused serious damage to the army barracks
By Jane Warr

A British Muslim has been named by an Islamic militant group in Indian-administered Kashmir as the suicide bomber who carried out a car bomb attack on Christmas Day which killed 10 people.

The group's newspaper says he packed a car with explosives and blew himself up outside an Indian Army barracks in Srinagar.

British officials have yet to confirm the identity of the bomber.

Soldier in Indian-administered Kashmir
Security in Kashmir was stepped up following the blast
According to a report in the London Times on Thursday, the suicide bomber has been named as 24-year old Mohammed Bilal, a former student from the English city of Birmingham, who operated under the name Abdullah Bai.

He is now being hailed as a hero by armed Islamic militant groups across Pakistan and Kashmir who refer to him as the "holy warrior".

Powerful blast

Police believe Mohammed Bilal was among five armed men who stole the car and packed it with explosives before driving it to one of the Indian Army's headquarters.

They say he set off the bomb when he was challenged by guards at the checkpoint outside the main entrance, killing six Indian soldiers and three Kashmiri students who were returning home to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The blast was so powerful, nothing was left of his body.

The attack was one of a series intended to derail a ceasfire announced by India during Ramadan.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir since 1947.

Over 30,000 people have died in the past 12 years since separatist groups began their campaign.

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See also:

25 Dec 00 | South Asia
Suicide bomber kills six in Kashmir
21 Dec 00 | South Asia
Kashmir militants plan Pakistan talks
20 Dec 00 | South Asia
Ceasefire statement in full
06 Dec 00 | South Asia
Pakistan still 'hopeful' on Kashmir
19 Nov 00 | South Asia
India suspends Kashmir offensive
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