Serial blasts rock Delhi; at least 20 killed
Saturday, 13 September , 2008, 18:45
Last Updated: Sunday, 14 September , 2008, 00:46
New Delhi: Twenty people were killed and over 70 injured as five bombs went off in the span of 22 minutes in three crowded areas in the worst terror attack in the Indian capital in nearly three years.
Islamist terror group Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the devastating blasts, a carbon copy of the coordinated bombings that killed 56 people in Ahmedabad in July. The police said the death toll could rise.
Delhi police put the death toll at 15, but doctors in hospitals where victims were rushed said 20 people had died.
Minister of State for Home Affairs put the number of injured at 100, many seriously. He admitted: "The terrorists managed to fool us and get away this time."
The first bomb exploded with a deafening roar near a parking lot at Karol Bagh’s Gaffar Market at about 6:15 pm, causing the worst carnage and killing at least 13 people.
Deputy commissioner of police Alok Kumar said that over 40 people were injured in Gaffar Market.
Two bombs exploded in quick succession in nearby Connaught Place, in the heart of the capital, killing seven people. Two more bombs went off at the popular M Block market at Greater Kailash I in south Delhi but they caused no death.
Blood and tears at Delhi hospitals after blasts
As panic set in, the authorities issued a high alert across the city, ordering shoppers to hurriedly leave popular markets. The police also found and defused three bombs: two in Connaught Place and one near India Gate, a World War I monument whose lawns serve as a popular evening resort.
The Karol Bagh bomb was apparently placed in an autorickshaw.
Roshan Lal, an eyewitness, said: "The autorickshaw was lifted into the air by the impact of the blast. I saw bodies fly in every direction."
"We picked up around 20 people from the site and rushed them to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in fire brigade vehicles, ambulances and autorickshaws," said Rajesh, a young man who was among the first to reach the bombed spot.
Chronology of Delhi blasts
Witnesses said the Connaught Place bombs were apparently kept inside garbage bins.
Three bombs were defused by the police, two in Connaught Place and one at India Gate.
A young balloon seller near the Metro station on Barakhamba Road who claimed to have seen two men leave behind a suspicious packet was questioned by the police.
Pranjal Baruah, an eyewitness at Barakhamba Road, identified two of the victims as a woman and a Hindu holy man.
Bhagirath, a relative of the ascetic, was frantically looking for him, unable to come to terms with the death. "I saw five people injured," he said.
Two blasts took place at the M-Block market in Greater Kailash I, an upmarket residential area in a space of seven minutes. One took place in front of the popular Prince Paan Corner.
Police said the explosions in Greater Kailash were of low intensity and no one was killed. The injured were rushed to hospitals.
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Meena Rastogi said: "My husband and I were shopping when we heard a loud bang. At first we thought a cooking cylinder had burst. But as people realised it was a bomb, there was panic everywhere."
Deputy commissioner of police (South) H S Dhaliwal said one of the bombs in Greater Kailash I was kept in an autorickshaw.
Phone lines in the capital jammed as panicked residents began calling one another. The blasts also led to traffic snarls.
Delhi was last rocked by a terror attack in 2005 when multiple blasts in Sarojini Nagar and Paharganj markets killed 51 people on the eve of Diwali.
Minister Jaiswal spoke of the "involvement of external forces in the blasts, though Indian Mujahideen has claimed responsibility".
The blasts were immediately condemned around the country and abroad including by Pakistan.
The Delhi government has announced compensation of Rs 5,00,000 to the next-of-kin of each of those killed and Rs 50,000 to those injured.
The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) used to say: "O Allah, I seek refuge in Thee from four things: Knowledge which does not profit, a heart which is not submissive, a soul which has an insatiable appetite, and a supplication which is not heard."