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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

India - 7 Coordinated Explosions

More than 100 killed in Bombay train explosions
By Philippe Naughton and agencies

More than 100 Indian commuters were killed today when seven co-ordinated explosions tore through packed trains and stations in the Indian financial capital of Bombay in the evening rush hour.

“There are 104 dead,” a police official at the city’s central control room,
who gave his name as Bhavale, told the Reuters news agency by telephone.
The Press Trust of India said that the blasts occurred at packed railway stations in Matunga, Khar, Santacruz, Jogeshwari, Borivali and Bhayendar. The blasts came just hours after suspected Islamic militants killed eight people in grenade attacks in Kashmir.

Witnesses reported seeing body parts strewn about stations, and Indian television news channels broadcast footage of bystanders carrying victims to ambulances. In the background were twisted and torn train compartments, some of the injured frantically dialling on their mobile phones.

The force of the blasts ripped doors and windows off carriages, and luggage and debris were strewn about.

Pranay Prabhakar, the spokesman for the Western Railway, confirmed that seven blasts had taken place. He said all trains had been suspended in Bombay and appealed to the public to stay away from the city’s train stations.

The blasts appeared to have come in quick succession - a common tactic employed by Kashmiri militants that have repeatedly targeted India’s cities.

The first explosion hit the train at a railway station in the northwestern suburb of Khar, one police source said. India’s CNN-IBN television news, which had a reporter travelling on the train, said the blast took place in a first-class car as the train was moving, ripping through the compartment and killing more than a dozen people.
Railway officials said that all the blasts had hit first-class cars.

"We have a fair number of casualties, 20 dead bodies have reached the KM Hospital, there are more casualties. The city is on high alert," A.N. Roy, the Bombay police commissioner said.

The Bombay blasts came just hours after eight people, mostly Indian tourists, were killed in grenade attacks in Srinagar, the most concerted targeting of civilians in months. Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since shortly after the two countries gained independence from Britain in 1947, but both claim it in full.

Bombay, a metropolis of about 17 million, has been hit by a series of bomb blasts in the past decade. More than 250 people died in a string of bomb explosions in Bombay in 1993 for which authorities blamed the city’s underworld criminal gangs.

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