Thursday, October 30, 2008

Developing: Mass Casualty Attacks In India; 50+ Dead

A series of bombs ripped through parts of Northern India, killing at least 57 people, and wounding more than 250 others. Other reports indicate 61 dead, and over 300 injured. I expect the death toll to continue rising as the grim task of aiding the injured and recovering the remains of those murdered in the attacks continues. For now, the Indian government is blaming jihadi separatists, but watch for the focus to shift:
In one of the worst terror attacks in the restive northeast, that has seen a lot of separatist violence in the last couple of decades, 12 bombs went off in less than an hour in Guwahati as well as in the western districts of Barpeta, Kokrajhar and Bongaigaon. More than 300 people were injured, many of whom are in a critical condition.

A police spokesperson said the blasts began at 11.20 a.m. and went off one after another in rapid succession -- five in Guwahati, three each in Barpeta and Kokrajhar and one in Bongaigaon.

"Preliminary investigations show that the bombs were strapped on bicycles and the explosives were packed with highly inflammable substances that led to big fires soon after the blasts," said Assam government spokesperson Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Thick black smoke billowed into the sky and the mangled remains of cars littered Guwahati's streets as fire brigade personnel and rescue workers rushed in to control the flames.

According to Assam police intelligence chief Khagen Sharma: "Prima facie, it appears to be a combined attack carried out at the behest of some jihadi forces with the help of local outfits."
Simultaneous mass casualty attack is often associated with al Qaeda or another affiliated terror group. However, since India and Pakistan frequently spar, watch for the attacks to be linked back to Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI.

The attackers murdered people as they were shopping in busy bazaars at midmorning and the terrorists used bombs strapped on bicycles that were loaded with highly inflammable substances to maximize the carnage.

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