Police in India find 19 bombs after simultaneous terror attacks kill over 44 wound scores
August 26, 2007
19 bombs found after fatal blasts in India
HYDERABAD, India: The police continued to find and defuse bombs throughout the southern Indian city of Hyderabad on Sunday, a day after a pair of synchronized explosions ripped through two popular gathering spots, killing at least 42 people and wounding scores of others.
State and national officials are calling the blasts in Hyderabad, a city with a history of Muslim-Hindu tensions, acts of terrorism.
After the attacks, the police defused 19 more bombs - all fitted with timers and placed in plastic bags - at bus stops, movie theaters, road intersections and pedestrian bridges. The police said each of the bombs contained ball bearings and ammonium.
India's home minister, Shivraj Patil, said the country was virtually helpless in the face of terror attacks. "We have to take timely action on the basis of information received. But our country is so big that even if we have the information that something is planned we do not know where or when," he said.
The explosions just minutes apart. The first hit an open-air auditorium in a public park during a laser show about the history of Hyderabad, killing at least 11 people. There were unconfirmed reports of two explosions at the park.
The second blast ripped through a popular restaurant, Gokul Chaat, the heart of Hyderabad's commercial district. The police and witnesses say the restaurant was packed with patrons. At least 30 were killed.
By Sunday morning, the death toll had risen to 42 as victims died of wounds suffered in the attacks, said K. Jana Reddy, the state home minister.
Both attacks appeared calculated to cause maximum carnage.
"The metal pellets in the bombs had worked as deadly missiles, killing more people," said Dr. K. Shastry, a senior doctor at a large hospital, which received many dead and wounded.
On Sunday, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, of which Hyderabad is the capital, pointed to Islamist militant groups in neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh.
"Available information points to the involvement of terrorist organizations based in Bangladesh and Pakistan," the minister, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, said Sunday after an emergency state cabinet meeting. Reddy said three children were among those killed in the attacks.
The Press Trust of India news agency reported Sunday that intelligence agencies were investigating a possible link to a Bangladesh-based militant group, Harkatul Jihad Al-Islami.
Harkatul, which is banned in Bangladesh, wants to establish strict Islamic rule in the Muslim-majority nation governed by secular laws. The Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry said it had not been informed of the allegations.
Indian officials have blamed militant groups based in Pakistan or Bangladesh for several attacks, saying Islamabad and Dhaka were not doing enough to crack down on anti-India groups.
A national Home Ministry official said Sunday that about 22 people were being questioned in connection with the weekend attack. The police reported that one man had been arrested near Hyderabad on suspicion of selling bicycle ball bearings that were used as pellets in the bombs. http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/08/26/news/india.php