Fri, May 16, 2008 - Page 5 News List

Unknown Islamic group claims deadly bombings

INDIAN INCIDENTThe claim for Tuesday night’s blast in Jaipur was made in an e-mail to media organizations

AFP , AIPUR, INDIA

A previously unknown Islamic militant group has claimed responsibility for a string of blasts that killed 63 people in the Indian tourist city of Jaipur, top officials said yesterday.

Gulab Chand Kataria, home minister of the northern state of Rajasthan of which Jaipur is the capital, said the police were investigating the claim, which he added was e-mailed to several media organizations.

“They [the group] sent a video saying ‘you support America and Britain and we will put pressure on them and on you,’” Kataria said.

“The police have seen it. It also has a few seconds of the bicycle [used in the attacks],” he said.

He said the group that sent the mail identified itself as “Indian Mujahedeen” — a previously unknown group which claims to be fighting Indian rule.

The e-mailed video clips showed a bicycle that it said was packed with explosives and set off at one of the eight blast locations in Jaipur.

Jaipur city police chief Pankaj Singh said the mail bore the sender’s name as “Indian Mujahedeen.”

“It’s a post-dated e-mail and it was sent after the attacks claiming ‘we did it’ and we are trying to verify whether it is the source or a false claim,” Singh said.

Some 200 people were also injured in the bombings, which police said was the first “terror” attack in the Rajasthan state capital.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said on Wednesday that explosives and ammonium nitrate mixed with steel balls were wired to timing devices and detonated at the eight blast sites.

The string of bombs which went off on Tuesday night at crowded markets in Jaipur were believed to have been planted on bicycles, police say.

Detectives released a sketch on Wednesday night of a suspect that they wanted to interview, and said more than 200 people had been rounded up for questioning.

Two people have also been arrested, Raje had said earlier.

Indian Junior Home Minister Shriprakash Jaiswal told reporters “the people responsible for these attacks have foreign connections,” without naming Pakistan.

Pakistan-based Islamic militants fighting against Indian rule in Kashmir are usually blamed for such attacks, which have plagued major Indian cities for years.

The blasts went off over a span of just 12 minutes and were close to several Hindu temples as well as the packed markets in the city.

Kataria said on Wednesday around a dozen people had been detained.

“We are trying our best to unravel the conspiracy behind this dastardly attack,” he said.

Among those detained in the city, which was under a daytime curfew, were one of the wounded and a rickshaw puller, a police official said.

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