(AFP) – May 15, 2008
JAIPUR, India (AFP) — A previously-unknown Islamic group claimed responsibility for a string of bombings that killed 63 people and warned of more attacks on Indian tourist targets, officials said Thursday.
Gulab Chand Kataria, home minister of the northern state of Rajasthan of which Jaipur is the capital, told AFP police were investigating the claim made in a video clip emailed to several media organisations.
The "Indian Mujahideen is waging an open war against the country for supporting the United States and the United Kingdom on international issues," the email said.
"India should stop supporting the United States ... and if you do continue then get ready to face more attacks at other important tourist places," it warned.
Kataria added that the clip also showed a few seconds of a bicycle purportedly packed with explosives which was later set off at one of the eight blast locations in Jaipur.
"It's a post-dated email and it was sent after the attacks claiming 'we did it' and we are trying to verify whether it is the source or a false claim," Jaipur police chief Pankaj Singh told AFP.
Police said the email was sent from a Internet cafe in Sahibabad town, close to New Delhi, and added the account was created Wednesday, using the British domain of Yahoo!
Sahibabad detectives detained the owner of the cafe for questioning on Thursday.
Muslim quarters in Jaipur meanwhile remained shuttered as Rajasthan's ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party called a dawn-to-dusk protest strike and police extended a curfew for the second straight day.
The lanes on either side of a Hindu temple which India's ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi visited Thursday were largely deserted.
Doors were bolted and strangers had to knock to be let in -- something that residents say almost never happens here.
"The doors on this street are usually open till one in the morning," said Shaheen Sazid, 30. "But everyone is afraid. The kid are not sleeping."
Sazid's house, like many in this city, is in mourning -- one of her nieces is in hospital. Another was buried Wednesday.
The two sisters, 12-year-old Irma and 14-year-old Alina Maruf, had gone to buy yoghurt when a bomb went off in front of the temple a few doors from their home.
The bombs, planted on bicycles, went off Tuesday night over a span of just 12 minutes at crowded markets and close to several Hindu temples in the city, 260 kilometres (160 miles) west of the Indian capital
Some 216 people were wounded in what police said was the first "terror" attack in the Rajasthan state capital.
About 200 people have been detained for questioning, police said. Among them were one of the wounded and a rickshaw puller.
State chief minister Vasundhara Raje said two suspects had been arrested and that explosives and ammonium nitrate mixed with steel balls were wired to timing devices and detonated at the blast sites.
Detectives released a sketch on Wednesday night of a suspect that they wanted to interview.
India's junior home minister Shriprakash Jaiswal told reporters "the people responsible for these attacks have foreign connections," without naming Pakistan.
Pakistan-based Islamic militants fighting against Indian rule in Kashmir are usually blamed for such attacks which have plagued India for years.
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