NEW DELHI, India – A bomb detonated in a crowded bakery popular with foreigners in western India killing nine people and wounding 57, officials said today, the first terrorist attack in the country since the 2008 Mumbai massacre.
The blast Saturday in the city of Pune, 125 miles southeast of Mumbai, threatened to damage new efforts to reduce tensions between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan, with Hindu nationalist leaders placing blame for the attack on India’s Muslim neighbor.
“It was a bomb lying in an unattended bag,” Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters today after visiting the bakery and the wounded in hospitals.
Chidambaram said forensic experts were trying to determine what explosives were used and how the bomb was triggered.
“All the information available to us at the moment points to a plot to explode a device in a place that is frequented by foreigners as well as Indians,” Chidambaram said.
It was the first terrorist strike in India since 10 Pakistan-based gunmen rampaged through hotels and a train station in the financial hub of Mumbai for 60 hours in November 2008, killing 166 people.
“It appears that an unattended package was noticed in the bakery by one of the waiters who apparently attempted to open the package when the blast took place,” Pillai told reporters.