May 14, 2008 in Nation/World

Seven bombs kill 80 in western India city

Matthew Rosenberg Associated Press
 

NEW DELHI – A series of bombs exploded across the ancient city of Jaipur on Tuesday, killing at least 80 people and transforming busy markets, a jewelry bazaar and a Hindu temple into scenes of carnage.

All seven blasts were within the old walls of the western city known for its pink-hued palaces, and suspicion quickly fell on Islamic militant groups blamed for a string of attacks in recent years. Police said an eighth bomb was found and defused by police.

“Obviously it’s a terrorist” attack, said A.S. Gill, police chief of Rajasthan, the state where Jaipur is located. “The way it has been done, the attempt was to cause the maximum damage to human life.”

The explosions began about 7:30 p.m. One went off at a market near a temple dedicated to the Hindu monkey god Hanuman. Tuesday is the day of worship set aside for Hanuman, and the temple was crowded with people offering prayers on the way home from work.

Another bomb detonated near Johari Bazaar, a jewelry market that is a popular tourist destination. The tourist season ended in March, however, and there was no immediate indication that foreigners had been caught in any of the explosions.

Parikshit Bhandari, who saw the attack near the jewelry market, said there was “blood all around and wounded people crawling on the ground.”

Bombing sites were littered with shopping bags, mangled bicycles, damaged cars and overturned bicycle rickshaws.

Police said today several people died in hospitals overnight, pushing the death toll from 60 to 80. The number of wounded increased to about 200 from 150 after officials developed a better picture of carnage.

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