Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pakistan suspected in latest Mumbai bombings: What will happen next?

Like a deadly unwanted relative refusing to sever connections, terrorism revisited Mumbai after nearly three years, with three bomb blasts on the evening of July 13. Twenty-one people have died in the explosions and over 140 injured. The death toll is rising.

The bombs exploded at around 6.45 pm: outside a school bus stop in suburban Dadar, the busy jewelry market zone of Zaveri Bazar and the diamond trading district at the Opera House area in south Mumbai. The timing and location of the explosives showed intent to target heavily crowded areas during rush hour.

Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik told media personnel at the blast sites that the bombs at Zaveri Bazaar and Opera

House seemed to have been high-intensity improvised explosive devices (IEDs), judging by the damage in the two areas. The Dadar bus stop bomb was of relatively lower intensity. The bombs exploded within 10 minutes of each other, Patnaik confirmed.

No terrorist group has yet claimed responsibility for the blasts, and no suspects have been officially named. From the familiar pattern of the attacks, security agencies unofficially mentioned the involvement of the so-called Indian Mujahideen. But this group of killers, said to be supported by, or a front for, the Pakistani terrorist outfit Lakshar-e-Taiba, has not sent its trademark e-mail to media outlets claiming credit for this latest exhibition of terror.

All the same, there can be little doubt that in the public's mind - and among officials - the attack carries the hallmark of Pakistani involvement; Indian officials have repeatedly accused Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency of helping coordinate and fund previous attacks.

Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram was quoted on Thursday as saying, "All groups hostile to India are under radar. We are not ruling out anything. We're looking at everyone and we will find out who is behind these attacks."

He added, "Whoever perpetrated these attacks has worked in a very, very clandestine manner. It's not a failure of intelligence." (read more)