Tue, Nov 07, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Officials discuss Assam bombing

AFP , GUWAHATI, INDIA

Top Indian security officials were scheduled to hold a special meeting yesterday, a day after simultaneous bomb attacks killed 12 people and injured dozens in the northeastern state of Assam.

No group has claimed responsibility for the twin blasts on Sunday at an upscale shopping center and near an oil facility in Assam's main city Guwahati, which also injured more than 40 people, 15 critically.

The heads of India's military operations and military intelligence as well as senior home and paramilitary force officials were to discuss the security situation in the restive state, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency said.

State security officials also planned to meet in Guwahati, where a dawn-to-dusk strike by opposition political parties to protest the attacks left city streets deserted, except for police and army personnel.

Most officials suspect the region's key rebel group, the United Liberation Front of Asom, which is fighting for an independent homeland, of being behind the evening attacks.

But some said it was too early to pinpoint the attackers, expressing fears that Islamic militants might now be operating in the state.

Police said the first bomb ripped through the crowded Fancy Bazaar shopping arcade in central Guwahati, which sells everything from vegetables to electronics and clothes.

Federal officials suggested the target of the second bombing was sensitive installations of the state-owned Indian Oil Corporation in Patharkuwari.

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