40 killed, 100 injured in terror strikes; human bomb attack suspected near hospital trauma centre
WAVES OF ATTACKS: Two victims of a bomb explosion in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
AHMEDABAD: Forty people were killed and over 100 injured when serial blasts struck different parts of Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s major commercial nerve centre, on Saturday evening. The State capital was plunged into chaos for hours after the terror attacks.
As the number of the dead and injured kept rising, police could not confirm the final tally till late in the evening. Chief Minister Narendra Modi, after an emergency Cabinet meeting, said 29 people died and over 100 were injured. Both he and Urban Development Minister Nitin Patel, who visited some of the affected areas, did not rule out the possibility of the casualties going up. For, the condition of many of the injured was critical.
Unconfirmed reports said the worst attack occurred near the trauma centre of the government civil hospital, where at least 25 people, including two doctors, were killed. Some eyewitness accounts claimed that it was a “human bomb” attack. The body was said to have been shattered but the incident was not confirmed by the police, who put the casualties in the hospital attack at not fewer than six.
The reports pieced together by the police indicated 17 blasts in 10 different areas and all, except the minority-dominated Sarkhej and Juhapura, were in the labour-dominated eastern parts of the old city. Most of the blasts occurred in crowded and congested areas during peak evening hour traffic.
About 40 minutes after the first round of blasts, bombs went off near the trauma centre of the civil hospital and the main portico of the L.G. General Hospital in Maninagar, even as the injured were being rushed to the hospitals.
A site of devastation in the city.
The first blast was reported from the Hatkeshwar locality in the Maninagar area at 6.38 p.m.
Thereafter bombs went off at 10 other places, all within the next five to seven minutes. About an hour later, three more blasts were reported from Maninagar and surrounding areas. Police said the injured were admitted to different hospitals in the city.
Police see the hand of the “sleeper cell” of the SIMI in the carnage.
Similar to the Jaipur blasts, the bombs were planted on cycles, but unlike as in the Rajasthan capital, only old cycles were used here, apparently to avoid being identified.
The preliminary reports from the sites indicated that gelatin rods in tiffin boxes or in cloth bags with timers and tied to cycles were left behind in crowded areas, possibly minutes before the blasts. A couple of vegetable vendors, admitted to hospital with injuries, claimed to have seen a person leaving behind a cycle before the blast.
Most of the blasts occurred in crowded and congested points like traffic circles, near a Hanuman temple where a large number of devotees turn out on Saturdays or near bus stops.
Within minutes after the Hatkeshwar blast, bombs serially kept going off near the Sardar Patel diamond market in Bapunagar, Narol, Ishanpur, Saraspur, Sarangpur, Raipur, Sarkhej, Juhaapura and later at the civil and L. G. hospitals.
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