(AFP) – Feb 20, 2010
NEW DELHI — The death toll from a blast that ripped through a packed restaurant last weekend in western India, which was claimed by a previously unknown Islamist group has risen to 12, a report said Saturday.
The explosion at the German Bakery restaurant in the city of Pune was the first major attack on Indian soil since the 2008 Mumbai massacre in which 166 people died.
The latest fatality was a 26-year-old Sudanese student, Amjad Elgazoli, who was studying at college in Pune, the Press Trust of India reported.
His death in hospital late Friday brought to three the number of foreigners killed in the February 13 blast at the neighbourhood bakery in which at least 60 people were injured.
The other two foreign victims who died in the explosion, which authorities said was caused by a bomb concealed in a bag, were an Italian woman and an Iranian man.
The report of the latest death came as students in New Delhi held prayers and lit candles on Saturday to pay tribute to victims of the blast.
Four men have been detained by Indian police for questioning in connection with the explosion, which came a day after India and Pakistan said they would resume peace talks in New Delhi.
A hitherto unknown Islamist outfit, which said it had splintered from a larger Pakistan-based outfit, claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call earlier in the week to the Indian newspaper The Hindu.
The Hindu said it was contacted by someone claiming to be a spokesman for a group called Lashkar-e-Taiba al-Almi which said it had carried out the bombing at the German Bakery, located near the Osho Ashram, a yoga and meditation retreat which draws visitors from around the world.
The caller said the attack was in response to India's "refusal" to discuss the disputed region of Kashmir, claimed by Pakistan and India, in the peace talks that are due to resume between the two countries this Thursday.
The caller said Lashkar-e-Taiba al-Almi had split from the larger Lashkar-e-Taiba because the latter "took its orders from Pakistan's intelligence agency", The Hindu reported.
The banned Lashkar-e-Taiba is blamed by India for the attacks on Mumbai that led to a suspension of dialogue between India and Pakistan.
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