Tue, Nov 01, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Indian police hunt for bombing clues

PHONE RECORDS As New Delhi security is beefed up, detectives comb through call records because they think Saturday's three blasts were coordinated by cellphones


Police were sifting through mobile-telephone call records yesterday in their hunt for those behind deadly blasts at New Delhi markets and investigating claims by a little-known Islamic militant group that it staged the carnage.

Commandos armed with submachineguns guarded shopping malls and the metro as the city police vowed to track down those behind Saturday's attacks.

At least 61 people were killed when three explosions rocked the Sarojini Nagar and Paharganj markets, packed with middle-class shoppers for the Hindu festival of Diwali, as well as a bus in the city's Okhla industrial district.

Police guarded Delhi's 18 exit points and prowled airports, rail and bus stations for suspects in one of the biggest manhunts ever in the city, a police spokesman said.

The city administration overnight brought in 2,600 security personnel to reinforce's New Delhi's 71,000-member police force and invited forensic experts from the northern city of Chandigarh to help speed up investigations, another senior police official said.

"We are using all our resources which includes spotters, informers and even known hoodlums to crack this case as early as possible," she said.

The city police said they were also in touch with their counterparts in Indian Kashmir for details of the little-known Islami Inqilabi Mahaz (Islamic Revolutionary Group) which has claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Karnail Singh, chief of Delhi's anti-terrorism police unit, said the obscure group came into existence in 1996 but had remained inactive.

Detectives, meanwhile, sifted through millions of cellphone call records.

"We are going through calls originating from 18 cellular towers at the three blast sites because we believe the attacks were coordinated with the help of mobile phones," said a police joint commissioner, who did not want to be named.

Singh said a task force was pursuing leads.

"We have lot of information but it won't be appropriate or scientific to give out details of the investigations at present," Home Minister Shivraj Patil said said as hundreds of detectives trawled the city for suspects.

Police were questioning more than two dozen people in connection with the attacks, which have drawn worldwide condemnation.

"We believe the attacks were carried out by a single group," Singh said, adding that electronic timers were used in one of the three blasts.

also see story:

Delhi blasts a reminder of Islamic terrorists' obstinance

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