The aftermath of the bombing of a city bus in Ahmedabad. Photo by the Times of India.
Terrorists have struck inside a major Indian city for the second day straight. At least 26 Indians were killed and more than 100 wounded in a series of bomb blasts in the city of Ahmedabad.
Sixteen blasts took place at 13 different sites throughout Ahmedabad in the span of 90 minutes, The Times of India reported, causing chaos in the city. Bombs were planted at two hospitals, in a theater, and on a bus and other vehicles.
The string of deadly bombings in Ahmedabad comes just one day after an identical attack occurred in the city of Bangalore. Six people were killed and more than 20 wounded after thirteen bombs were detonated nearly simultaneously throughout the city.
Police said that yesterday’s smaller bombs were assembled by professional bomb makers who used timing devices set to detonate within 15 minutes of each other. During a follow-up investigation, police found a large, undetonated bomb at a mall in Bangalore.
A group called the Indian Mujahideen took credit for the attacks in Bangalore, but no group has taken credit for the Ahmedabad attacks at this time. The mode of attacks makes it certain the same group conducted both strikes.
The Indian Mujahideen took credit for the May bombings in Jaipur and said the attacks were intended to disrupt the tourist economy. The group sent videos to the media using an e-mail address that is nearly identical to the one used to announce the attacks in Uttar Pradesh in November 2007. The Jaipur blasts killed more than 60 and wounded more than 200, while the Uttar Pradesh attacks killed 14 and wounded more than 50.
But India’s Intelligence Bureau denies that the Indian Mujahideen exists. Instead the Bureau claims the terror group is a creation of the Bangladesh-based Harkat ul Jihad al Islami, or HuJI-B, an al Qaeda affiliate. HuJI-B created the Indian Mujahideen to confuse investigators and cover the tracks of the Students Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, which provides logistics for the attacks.
India officials said the HuJI-B and SIMI were behind the Jaipur and Uttar Pradesh bombings, and some officials believe the Pakistani-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group assisted in the attacks.
The Bangladeshi branch of HuJI, was established in 1992 “with assistance from Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front,” according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal.
“HuJI aims to establish Islamic Hukumat (rule) in Bangladesh by waging war and killing progressive intellectuals,” the South Asia Terrorism Portal stated. “It draws inspiration from bin Laden and the erstwhile Taliban regime of Afghanistan. At one point of time, the groups issued a slogan, Amra Sobai Hobo Taliban, Bangla Hobe Afghanistan (We will all become Taliban and we will turn Bangladesh into Afghanistan).”
HuJI-B fighters are recruited from madrassa, or religious schools, in Bangladesh and are trained in al Qaeda and Taliban camps Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Bangladeshi terror group plays a crucial role in training jihadists “from southern Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and Brunei” and providing manpower for al Qaeda’s affiliates in Jammu and Kashmir, Afghanistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Chechnya.
India security forces have conducted many high-profile arrests of the leadership of the Students Islamic Movement of India over the past year, which until recently put a dent in the terror group’s operations. But police and intelligence officials believe the Ahmedabad and Bangalore attack show the movement has regenerated its leadership.
• Serial blasts in Ahmedabad – The Times of India
• 16 blasts rock Ahmedabad – DNA India
• 60 killed, 200 wounded in multiple bombings in India – The Long War Journal
• Undetonated Powerful Bomb Found at Bangalore Shopping Mall – Voice of America
• Embedded chips used as trigger in Bangalore blasts – The Hindu
• Bombings focus attention on SIMI networks – The Hindu
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