NEW DELHI – Multiple bomb blasts rocked this densely populated city Saturday evening, killing at least 18 people and injuring dozens more in the worst terrorist incident to hit the Indian capital in nearly three years.
The serial explosions struck packed marketplaces and public areas across Delhi.
As is routinely the case in such attacks here, Indian authorities immediately cast suspicion on Muslim extremists. A militant outfit known as the Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the blasts in an e-mail sent to Indian news organizations before the blasts, warning that India was soon to receive “the message of death.” The assertion could not be verified.
The group was little known until several months ago, when spokespeople purporting to represent it claimed to be behind at least two deadly bombings: one in the tourist destination of Jaipur in May, which killed more than 60 people, and another in Ahmedabad in western India, in which dozens of people died.
The first explosion bloodied shoppers and passers-by in the neighborhood known as Karol Bagh, toward the northern part of Delhi. Two more blasts shook Connaught Place, and at least one more struck a popular marketplace in southern Delhi.
Local news agencies said that two other bombs were defused before they could be detonated. One was reportedly placed near India Gate, an archway commemorating India’s war dead, about a mile down the street from the presidential palace.
“It’s a very cowardly act of violence,” Arti Mehra, Delhi’s mayor, told reporters near the bombing in the southern part of the city. “They want to break the spirit of Delhi. They have tried this in other places before, and they have not succeeded, and they will not succeed here.”