Breaking: Multiple explosions in India; at least 10 dead

posted at 11:06 am on February 21, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Multiple explosions hit the Indian city of Hyderabad, in a “densely populated” area of the city, according to several news reports coming in now.  Three explosions appear to be coordinated, and targeted on a bus transport area.  If that sounds familiar, a recent execution of a Kashmiri terrorist convicted of taking part in a terrorist attack on India’s parliament may be related to the incident.   Here is an initial and confused TV report about the attack:

Another television report has a quote up that says “terror attack suspected,” and that more than three blasts may have taken place, although that seems to be more about confusion than additional information:

The AP also reports multiple blasts, but two rather than three:

At least 10 people were killed and 50 injured Thursday in a pair of explosions in crowded areas of the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, an official said.

Federal Home Secretary R.K. Singh said police were trying to determine the cause of the explosions. He spoke to reporters in New Delhi, the Indian capital.

The blasts occurred about 10 minutes apart outside a movie theater and a bus station, police said.

Television images showed the injured being taken to nearby hospitals. The areas were cordoned off by police as panic spread.

The Times of India has a preliminary report:

A  series of powerful bombs ripped through a market place in Hyderabad on Thursday evening killing 15 people and injuring up to fifty as per initial reports.

The blasts took near a bus stand in the Dilsukh Nagar area. The area is a busy and crowded part of the city.

Intelligence Bureau told Times Now that they are not ruling out any possibilities.

The AP notes the case of Kashmiri separatist Mohammed Afzal Guru, who was hanged two weeks ago after being convicted in a 2001 attack in New Delhi that left 14 people dead.  Could this be a reprisal?  It certainly looks like a possibility, and the signatures of al-Qaeda are present at least in principle: multiple blasts and transportation targets.

India’a Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the blasts “a dastardly attack“:

India’s home minister said bombs had been planted on bicycles about 150m (500ft) apart in a crowded market.

“I talked to the chief minister who said both blasts took place within a radius of 150 metres,” said the minister Sushil Shinde. “Eight people died at one place, three at the other.” …

Officials told the BBC between 10 and 20 people may have been killed and 50 injured.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged the public to remain calm.

“The guilty will not go unpunished,” he tweeted.

More to come as developments proceed.

Update: The death toll is at 11, with more than 50 wounded, according to the latest from AP:

A pair of bombs exploded Thursday evening in a crowded shopping area in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, killing at least 11 people and wounding 50 more in the worst bombing in the country in more than a year, officials said.

The blasts occurred about two minutes apart at around 7 p.m. outside a movie theater and a bus station, police said. Storefronts were shattered, motorcycles covered in debris, and food and plates from a roadside restaurant were scattered on the ground near a tangle of dead bodies. Passersby rushed the bleeding and wounded out of the area.

Was the government prepared for the attack?  Perhaps not:

Home Secretary R.K. Singh said officials from the National Investigation Agency and commandos of the National Security Guards were leaving New Delhi for Hyderabad.

Rana Banerji, a former security official, said India remains vulnerable to such attacks because there is poor coordination between the national government and the states. Police reforms are also moving very slowly and the quality of intelligence gathering is poor, he said.

“The concept of homeland security should be made effective, on a war footing,” he said.

One would have thought the Mumbai attack would have accelerated these reforms.


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