Saturday, August 09, 2008

Police defuse bombs found in western Indian city

AHMEDABAD, India (Reuters) - Police defused several unexploded bombs in the western Indian city of Surat, one of the world's biggest diamond-polishing centers, on Tuesday, three days after a series of blasts in the same state killed 45 people.

"We have defused seven bombs and (are) working on three more," senior police official H.P. Singh told Reuters

A series of 16 bombs ripped through Ahmedabad, the main city of Gujarat state on Saturday, a day after bombs killed one woman in the IT hub of Bangalore. Surat is about six hours drive south of Ahmedebad.

One bomb was found near a police station and another hanging from a tree, police said.

Extra police were deployed on the streets of Surat. Schools closed early and children sent back home. Large crowds gathered in the streets to watch police defuse the bombs.

A group called the "Indian Mujahideen" said it carried out the Ahmedabad attack, writing in an e-mail sent five minutes before the first blast that it was in revenge for a 2002 massacre in Gujarat of around 2,500 people, mainly Muslims, by Hindu mobs.

The sophistication of the recent wave of bomb attacks in India has caught the country's police and intelligence networks unaware and triggered fears of more attacks by the group.

Police official Singh said the bombs on Tuesday were all found in one of Surat city's most crowded neighborhoods, but gave no details about the nature of the explosives or who could have placed them.

On Sunday, two unexploded car bombs were also found by police in Surat.

Two other cars were used in the bombings in Ahmedabad, and police said they were looking for people who stole the cars from a suburb of Mumbai, India's financial capital.

"In all, four cars were stolen between July 7 and July 15 from Navi Mumbai," Parambir Singh, a senior anti-terrorism squad officer, said, referring to a Mumbai suburb that is home to many of the city's millions of immigrants and several IT firms.

Singh said Navi Mumbai was also the place where the email originated.

Media reports said the internet address of an American living in Navi Mumbai was hacked into to send the email. (Reporting by Rupam Jain Nair and Krittivas Mukherjee; Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee and Valerie Lee)


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