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Indian Mujahideen claims responsibility for bombings PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 16 May 2008

Reuters, Jaipur, India - An unknown militant group has claimed responsibility for setting off a coordinated series of blasts that tore through a packed shopping area in Jaipur on Tuesday.

Eight bombs, many strapped to bicycles, killed 61 people and injured 216 people in Jaipur.

A video clip sent by email to national media showed one packet strapped on the back of a bicycle. The email said that the packet contained a bomb, police said on Thursday.

The video was broadcast across national television channels on Thursday and the email showed a serial number of one of the bicycles which police said they were trying to match up with bicycles used in the bombings.

Police said the email included a statement that the attack had targeted the tourism industry, although the attack occurred during the low season for tourists.

The group, called the Indian Mujahideen, also threatened more attacks, police said.

"We are examining the authenticity of the video and the claim at the moment," Pankaj Singh, a senior police officer, told Reuters in Jaipur.

India has suffered a wave of bombings in recent years, with targets ranging from mosques and Hindu temples to trains. But it is unusual for any group to claim responsibility for attacks.

Islamist militant groups in Pakistan and Bangladesh intent on fanning hatred between Muslims and Hindus in India, and damaging a fragile peace process between New Delhi and Islamabad, are often blamed for bomb attacks in India.

One senior police officer doubted the email's authenticity.

"We came across similar claims in the past and later found they were actually pranks made by somebody," K.P. Raghuvanshi, the former chief of Mumbai's anti-terrorism squad who is still a top police officer in the city, told Reuters.

"We have no information about a group called Indian Mujahideen and I doubt its authenticity now."

Jaipur police were questioning cybercafe owners and dozens of people for leads, a senior officer said.

The streets inside the walled-city of Jaipur were deserted on Thursday as authorities imposed a curfew for a second consecutive day in some areas.

Many people inside the old city, also known as the pink city because of the colour of buildings, said they were having sleepless nights.

"The sight of human flesh and my injured teenage son lying in a pool of blood still gives me nightmares," Sahid Akhtar, a shop owner in the main square, told Reuters.

Police released a sketch on Wednesday of a man in his mid-20s suspected of being involved in the bombings.

Witnesses who helped prepare the sketch told police that the man was seen near the scene of one the bombings and spoke Bengali.

In the past few years, bomb blasts in Indian cities have killed hundreds of people. The deadliest was in July 2006, when seven bombs on Mumbai's rail network killed more than 180 people.

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