India police say were warned about Hyderabad bomb threat

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India police say were warned about Hyderabad bomb threat

Indian police revealed on Friday they had been warned of a possible attack by militants in a bustling shopping area of Hyderabad where twin bombings killed at least 14 people and wounded scores.

By (AFP)

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Published: Fri 22 Feb 2013, 12:56 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:33 PM

The near-simultaneous attacks on Thursday night outside a cinema and a bus stand in the Dilsukh Nagar district were the first deadly bombings in the country since 2011 and triggered condemnation from Indian and world leaders.

Fire fighters extinguish a fire at the site of an explosion in Hyderabad.- Reuters

The attacks also raised questions about whether Australia’s cricket team would go ahead with a scheduled international match against India in Hyderabad starting on March 2, although the tourists said the Test was still on for now.

As investigators sifted through the wreckage in their hunt for the perpetrators, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said those responsible for the “dastardly act” would be punished.

No group has claimed responsibility but newspapers pointed the finger at Indian Mujahideen. A senior detective said two of the group’s militants had spoken of a possible attack in the area during interrogation last October.

“We interrogated two militants who said they had recced various spots in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune for a possible attack,” said S.N. Shrivastava, a Delhi police commissioner with responsibility for anti-terror operations.

“One of the places they mentioned was Dilsukh Nagar, which was hit last night,” hes aid.

Indian Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for numerous bomb blasts in recent years, and is often listed as a suspect in attacks across the country.

Questioned about the Indian Mujahideen’s possible involvement, Home Minister Shushil Kumar Shinde said it was too early to say. “The investigation has just started ... we will find out everything,” he said.

A report on India’s NDTV network said the cables of closed circuit television cameras had been cut days before the blasts.

A relative reacts at the Omini hospital Kothapet following bomb blasts in Hyderabad . - AFP

Speaking on a visit to the scene, Shinde put the death toll at 14 and the number of injured at 119.

N. Rao, a senior police official in Hyderabad, gave the toll as 16 and put the number of wounded at 80.

Many of those killed and injured were daily wage labourers shopping at the local fruit market before heading home.

Police said three of the dead were college students and another was a 30-year-old woman. One of the most seriously injured was a pregnant woman.

While Hindus form the majority of the population in Hyderabad, one of India’s largest and most historic cities.

Hyderabad is one of the main hubs of the country’s computing industry which hosts local offices of Google and Microsoft among others.

Doctors worked through the night to treat a stream of wounded victims as patients lay on stretchers at city hospitals and anguished relatives clamoured for news of loved ones.

The attacks came at a time when India was on alert after the recent hanging of a separatist unleashed protests in Kashmir.

Shinde said that while authorities had received intelligence of a possible threat of attack, “it was not specific”.

Commenting on the upcoming Test match in Hyderabad, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said he was taking advice from authorities.

“As far as I’m concerned we are playing the second Test in Hyderabad next week. That’s where we are at,” said Sutherland, who is with the team in Chennai for the opening Test starting later Friday.

Newspaper headlines summed up the anger over the attacks, with the headline in India Today reading: “Serial Terror Returns to Hyderabad”.

In May 2007 at least 11 people were killed in a blast at a mosque in Hyderabad and five more died when police fired at protesters.

Months later in August, at least 40 people were killed in Hyderabad when two blasts hit an auditorium and an outdoor restaurant.

Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, the top civil servant in India’s external affairs ministry, did not rule out foreign involvement. “I am not sure there is any evidence it could be homegrown terrorism,” he said in Washington Thursday.

New US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a tweet that he had expressed his sympathies for the “brave people” of Hyderabad when he met Mathai while UN chief Ki-Moon “strongly condemn(ed) the indiscriminate attacks”.

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