Three powerful bombs ripped through New Delhi markets packed with families and shoppers on Saturday ahead of the biggest Hindu and Muslim festivals of the year, killing dozens and wounding scores more.
Charred bodies, blood, glass and smoking debris littered the scenes as rescuers frantically pulled out the dead and injured while thousands of survivors milled around in shock trying to find out what had happened to missing relatives.
The blasts occurred within minutes of each other, killing more than 40 people, officials said. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared it an act of terrorism, while adding it was too early to speculate who was responsible.
“There was a huge sound,” said Sunita, who lives near one of the devastated markets, in an area also poplar with foreign backpackers. “I saw many people lying on the ground. I saw a child’s arm cut off and somebody else’s brain smashed out. It was very bad. Very bad.”
Singh and other officials called for calm and police in the financial capital, Mumbai, put the city on high alert. Markets around Delhi began closing down as emergency vehicles battled their way through gridlocked streets.
“He is very distressed,” Singh’s spokesman told reporters. “India will never be defeated by terrorism.”
The bombings come in the wake of Islamist terror alerts warning of al Qaeda strikes against US interest in India.
Other news/blog coverage:
Television channels such as NDTV 24×7 have put the toll as high as 65. The home minister said at least 50 people had been injured.
The blasts left men, women and children with burns, bruises and broken limbs as they tried to escape, eyewitnesses said on television channels.
Meanwhile, in Indonesia:
Three teenage Christian girls were beheaded and a fourth was seriously wounded in a savage attack on Saturday by unidentified assailants in the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi.
The girls were among a group of students from a private Christian high school who were ambushed while walking through a cocoa plantation in Poso Kota subdistrict on their way to class, police Major Riky Naldo said.
The area is close to the provincial capital of Poso, about 1000 kilometres northeast of Jakarta.
Naldo said the heads of the three dead victims were found several kilometres from their bodies.
In Jakarta, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered the police to begin a hunt for the killers.
“In the holy month of Ramadan, we are again shocked by a sadistic crime in Poso that claimed the lives of three school students,” he told reporters at the airport as he prepared to fly to Sumatra island.
“I condemn this barbarous killing, whoever the perpetrators are and whatever their motives.”
More coverage: FOX News
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