Wed, Jul 12, 2006 - Page 1 News List

At least 100 dead as bombs ravage Mumbai rail system

AGENCIES , MUMBAI, INDIA

More than 100 people were killed last night in seven bomb explosions at rail stations and on trains in India's financial hub, Mumbai police said.

"There are 104 dead," a police official at the city's central control room, who gave his name as Bhavale, said by telephone.

There was chaos throughout Mumbai's crowded rail network following the explosions, and authorities struggled to determine how many people had been killed and injured.

"We have a fair number of casualties, 20 dead bodies have reached the KM Hospital, there are more casualties. The city is on high alert," Mumbai police commissioner A.N. Roy told reporters in his first comment on the blasts.

"And more casualties are coming in," he said

"We are busy in the rescue operation. Our first priority is to rescue the injured people," he said.

However, heavy monsoon downpours were hampering the search and rescue effort.

Police were also reportedly carrying out raids across the country following the explosions, presumably in search of suspects.

The blasts were caused by explosives, police said.

The explosions occurred at packed railway stations or on trains in the Matunga, Khar, Mahim -- also known as Santa Cruz -- Jogeshwari, Borivali and Bhayendar localities in and around Mumbai, officials from the state railway told the Press Trust of India.

They occurred within minutes of each other, with the first taking place at 6.24pm in a crowded train carriage at Khar, officials said.

"The blast was so powerful that we thought we were hit by lightning. It shook our market," said shopkeeper Gopi Chand, who witnessed the Khar blast.

Witnesses reported seeing body parts strewn about stations, and Indian TV news channels broadcast footage of wounded sprawled on tracks and being carried through to ambulances.

"People began jumping off our running train when a bomb went off and filled the carriage with smoke and fire," said a commuter with serious injuries to his left arm and shoulder at Mahim station.

India's CNN-IBN television news, which had a reporter traveling on the train, said the first blast took place in a first-class car as the train was moving, ripping through the compartment and killing more than a dozen people

The Press Trust of India, citing railway officials, said all the blasts had hit first-class cars.

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