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Death toll in Ahmedabad rises to 45, police raid house near Mumbai

Article published on the 2008-07-27 Latest update 2008-07-27 14:02 TU

Relatives of the victims mourn(Photo: Reuters)

Relatives of the victims mourn
(Photo: Reuters)

Indian police have raided a house near the financial capital, Mumbai, in connection with Saturday's 17 bomb blasts in Ahmedabad which killed 45 people, according to officials. The carnage was worsened by two explosions at hospitals treating the victims. Over 160 people have been injured. National politicians appealed for calm, while local leaders struck a more aggressive note.

Mumbai police seized the hard-drive of a computer they say was the source of an email claiming responsibility for the attacks in the name of a little-known Islamist group calling itself the Indian Mujahedeen. No arrests were made.

The same group claimed responsibility for bombs in the western city of Jaipur in May, which killed 60 people. On Friday bombs in the southern city of Bangalore killed one person and injured six.

Police in Ahmedabad carried out a number of raids overnight and detained an undisclosed number of people.

Saturday's string of bombs went off in markets, buses and other targets. Then two went off at hospitals, hitting many relatives of the previous blasts' victims.

Bomb squads defused at least three unexploded devices in the city on Sunday, according to television channels, while soldiers staged a "flag march", a show of strength, in sensitive areas. There are reports of at least one more unexploded bomb being found elsewhere in the state.

Both Ahmedabad and Bangalore are in states controlled by the Hindu-nationalist BJP party, which is at present in opposition. Correspondent Binu Alex told RFI that, with an election due next year, "the blame game among the political parties has already begun."

"We should not allow anybody to make use of this blast to create more terror and to create more difficulties for the people," said India's Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who appealed for calm in Gujarat.

The state's Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, who has been accused of complicity in anti-Muslim violence in 2002, declared that "we shall not spare" the perpetrators.

"Terrorists are waging a war against India," he said. "We should be prepared for a long battle against terrorism."