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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


India Seeks Calm After Deadly Bombings in Two Cities

By Steve Herman
New Delhi
27 July 2008

High-level security officials met in India, following serial bomb blasts in two large cities. An estimated 25 explosions in Bangalore and Ahmedabad on Friday and Saturday killed more than 45 people and wounded about 100 others. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from New Delhi.

India put its army on the streets of Ahmedabad. Troops rolled through the streets of western India's commercial and cultural hub in a show of force meant to prevent an outbreak of violence between Hindus and Muslims.

A virtually unknown group, Indian Mujahedin, has claimed responsibility for the explosions in crowded markets and at a hospital where many of the victims had been taken.

In an e-mail sent to television stations minutes before the first blast Saturday, the group said the attacks were in retaliation for the 2002 riots in the state. The violence left more than 1,000 people dead, mostly Muslims.

Police say an anti-terrorist squad raided an upscale residential building in a Mumbai suburb Sunday from which they believed the English-language electronic message was sent. Media reports say one of the apartments had been rented to an American who claimed his computer must have been hacked to send the threatening note.

The government's top security officials huddled in an emergency meeting Sunday in New Delhi. Afterwards, Home Minister Shivraj Patil told reporters the government will ensure the situation does not escalate and will do all it can for the victims.

"We would like to reduce their difficulties and we would like to share their agonies," Pital said. "And we would like to see that in whatever fashion it is possible for us to assuage their feelings."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to visit hospitalized survivors Monday in Ahmedabad.

Authorities say several unexploded bombs in Gujarat were found and defused on Sunday.

The 16 detonations followed a series of similar bombings in India's high-technology hub, Bangalore. At least one person died in the Friday attacks in the southern city.

Investigators say there are similarities between the bombings in the two cities, but authorities have not linked the attacks nor have they named any suspects. They say 30 people have been detained for questioning.

Numerous Indian cities have been hit by bombings in recent years. Nearly all have been blamed on Islamic militants.

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