Seven killed, 50 injured in five blasts in Delhi

Other News Materials 13 September 2008 19:37 (UTC +04:00)

At least seven people were killed and over 50 injured as serial blasts ripped through three busy market areas in New Delhi on Saturday, officials and news reports said.

The blasts took place in the city's crowded Ghaffar Market, Connaught Place and Greater Kailash areas within 40 minutes beginning at 6.15 pm ( GMT).

Confirming the deaths were the result of a terrorist attack, Delhi Mayor Arti Mehra told reporters: "It is a shameful and cowardly act. I appeal to everyone to maintain calm. (The terrorists) cannot kill the spirit of Delhi."

The NDTV network reported that an unexploded bomb was defused in the India Gate area, one of the highest security areas in the country.

The blasts took place in busy areas that are crowded with shoppers on the weekend. Police immediately evacuated the areas and cordoned off the markets.

The city was placed on high alert as security was strengthened and all markets in the city were ordered to shut.

A Muslim militant group Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attacks. The same group had also claimed responsibility for serial bombings in May and July in the cities of Jaipur and Ahmedabad, where 119 lives were lost.

Indian police believe that the Indian Mujahideen is a "smokescreen" or front for the banned Students Islamic Movement of India.

"In the name of Allah, the Indian Mujahideen strikes back once more," an email entitled "Message of Death" sent by the group to Indian news outlets mentioned.

"Do whatever you can and stop us if you can, exclusively from Indian Mujahideen," it added.

At least 20 people were injured in the blast at Ghaffar market and were taken to the nearby Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, the PTI news agency reported.

Three explosions took place in the Connaught Place area, including at a Central Park and one near a metro station, in which at least 20 people were injured.

The bombs had been kept inside dustbins in the area. The fifth low-intensity blast occurred in the Greater Kailash market.

Witnesses said they could hear deafening blasts, while television footage showed shattered window-panes and mangled vehicles at the scene as well as police and locals moving the injured into ambulances.

"It was a loud blast and the earth beneath our feet trembled. There were dense smoke all around," a witness at Connaught Place said according to dpa.