Indian police search for evidence in bomb attack
By Omer Farooq ,APHYDERABAD, India -- Indian police investigating a dual bomb attack that killed 15 people outside a movie theater and a bus station in the southern city of Hyderabad were searching for links to a shadowy Islamic militant groups with reported ties to Pakistan, an official said Friday.
February 23, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
Officials were examining whether the Indian Mujahideen, which is thought to have a link with militants in neighboring Pakistan, might have carried out the attack, an investigator told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to reveal details of the probe. India's recent execution of an Islamic militant is being examined as a possible motive for the bombings, he said.
Police have not yet detained anyone in connection with Thursday evening's attacks, the first major terror bombings in India since 2011.
According to a New Delhi police report, two suspected militants belonging to the Indian Mujahideen group who were arrested last year, said during questioning that they had done a reconnaissance of Dilsukh Nagar district in Hyderabad where the blasts occurred. They had also visited various spots in New Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said there was a general alert about the possibility of an attack somewhere in India for the past three days. “But there was no specific intelligence about a particular place,” he said as he toured the site Friday morning.
The bombs were attached to two bicycles about 150 meters (500 feet) apart in Hyderabad's Dilsukh Nagar district, Shinde said. He said in addition to the dead, 119 others were injured.
The bombs exploded minutes apart in a crowded shopping area. The blasts shattered storefronts, scattered food and plates from roadside restaurants and left tangles of dead bodies. Passersby rushed the wounded to hospitals.
“This is a dastardly attack; the guilty will not go unpunished,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said. He appealed to the public to remain calm.
Top state police officer V. Dinesh Reddy said improvised explosive devices with nitrogen compound were used in the blasts, which he blamed on a “terrorist network.”
On Friday morning, police with cameras, gloves and plastic evidence bags used pointers to gingerly look through the debris. Officials from the National Investigation Agency and commandos of the National Security Guards arrived from New Delhi to help with the investigation.
Hyderabad, a city of 10 million in the state of Andhra Pradesh, is a hub of India's information technology industry and has a mixed population of Muslims and Hindus.
The United States, whose Secretary of State John Kerry was meeting Thursday in Washington with Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, condemned the attack.
“The United States stands with India in combating the scourge of terrorism and we also prepared to offer any and all assistance Indian authorities may need,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told a news briefing.