MUMBAI: Three near-simultaneous IED explosions in the Indian city of Mumbai killed over 20 people and injured over 141 on Wednesday evening.
Three blasts occured during the evening rush hour in central and south districts of Mumbai at Opera House, Zaveri Bazaar and Dadar, with the blast at Opera House being the biggest of the three. Officials confirmed that IEDs were used in the attacks.
The blast at Opera House was an IED planted in an umbrella while the one at Zaveri Bazaar was planted in an electric box and the bomb at Dadar was hidden in a scooter.
India had mobilised investigation and forensic teams to determine the nature and origin of the blasts.
No official chose to speculate over the perpetrators of the attacks.
Condemnation poured in from around the world, including Pakistan, US and the UK.
End of live updates:
Britain joined the US and Pakistan in condemning the Mumbai blasts as “deplorable acts of terrorism.”
Foreign Secretary William Hague in a statement said:
“I send my deepest condolences to all those who have lost relatives or been injured in the bomb blasts in Mumbai,” it said .”These were deplorable acts of terrorism. The UK stands firmly with India in the face of such atrocities.”
“We are committed to working with the Indian government and our allies and partners to combat the threat from terrorism in all its forms.”
He said a Foreign Office team was in Mumbai to support any British nationals who may have been caught up in the attacks.
A spokesman added investigations were at an early stage and it was unclear whether any Britons were involved.
A circulating Google document containing updated information about police stations, hospitals and what type blood is needed in emergency rooms is helping people in Mumbai.
Chidambaram in a statement says that police are reviewing CCTV footage from the blast sites.
US President Barack Obama condemned the “outrageous” attacks in Mumbai after three simultaneous blasts.
He said: “I strongly condemn the outrageous attacks in Mumbai and my thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and those who have lost loved ones.”
Obama said the US government: “continues to monitor the situation, including the safety and security of our citizens” adding that “India is a close friend and partner of the United States,” and that “the American people will stand with the Indian people in times of trial, and we will offer support to India’s efforts to bring the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to justice.”
The Indian PM, Manmohan Singh has issued a short statement in which he has directed the Maharashtra Chief Minister to provide all possible relief to the injured and families of the deceased.
He also directed the Home Minister to provide all possible expert assistance to the state of Maharashtra.
Singh urged the people of Mumbai and of the state of Maharashtra to observe calm and stand united.
Eyewitnesses and officials say that motorcycles and scooters used in attacks.
A timeline of terror attacks in Mumbai can be read here.
Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan and the Indian Home Ministry confirmed that the death toll has risen to 20, injured still at 113. He told Indian media that most of the casualties resulted from the blasts at Zaveri Bazaar and the Opera House.
The chief minister is also due to visit the JJ hospital where most of the injured have been brought.
Streets in Mumbai now deserted after a heavy downpour and police urging people to return to their homes.
Pakistani ambassador to US, Husain Haqqani tweeted:
Latest tragedy in #Mumbai is horrifying. R heart goes out 2 the victims, their families & friends.
According to Times of India, the communication network has been jammed. People are unable to get through phone lines in the city.
All Indian states have been put on high alert.
Prithviraj Chavan, the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Maharashtra said that police and other sources had confirmed to him that 13 people have been killed in the blast and 81 people have been injured.
He said that the blasts occurred between 6:40pm and 7:04pm. Chavan said that of the three blasts, the blast at Opera House was the most powerful.
He declined to ‘speculate’ about those behind the attack saying:
“this is an attack on Mumbai, and people are facing a new threat. But I would not like to speculate on who was involved in the attacks, this will be revealed by the forensic and investigation teams.”
Chavan added that police was still searching for other bombs that may have been planted.
Arup Patnaik, Mumbai’s police commissioner told local television that an improvised explosive device (IED) was put inside an umbrella at Zaveri Bazaar, one of the three blast sites, reports Reuters.
The entire Mumbai city has been sealed off, curfew imposed.
Indian Home Minister Chidhambaram says that at least 10 people are dead and 54 people have been injured. Injured and death toll could rise.
Chidambaram says that they do not have any information of any other blast or threat apart from the three blasts.
Home Minister has urged people to remain calm and maintain peace. He says that there will be a statement every two hours.
Television footage from CNN-IBN television channel showed debris of twisted metal, motorbikes and cars severely damaged at one suspected blast site, reports Reuters.
Police have cordoned off the blast site and sent in sniffer dogs to examine the area, reports Reuters.
MP of South Mumbai tells NDTV – avoid rumour mongering, avoid messages that spread communal discontent.
At least 100 people has been wounded in the near-simultaneous blasts, the Indian home secretary has confirmed.
A minister in the Maharashtra state government, Chhagan Bhujbal, told reporters that all three explosions had targeted busy areas of Mumbai, including a wholesale gold market, AFP reports.
“It is clear that that the attackers wanted to hurt as many as people as possible. Many people are injured,” Bhujpal said.
Federal Home Secretary R.K. Singh told Times Now television he could confirm two deaths and 100 injured people.
The Indian Home Ministry has termed the blasts as terror attacks, AFP reports.
Mumbai Police and Home ministry are zeroing in on Indian Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba as possible suspects in the attacks.
Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram is conducting a high level meeting.
Emergency Phone Numbers:
Mumbai Police Main Control Room 100
22620111, ext. 100, 22633319
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have condemned the blasts in Mumbai and expressed sympathy with the Indian Leadership on loss of lives and property.
Indian Home Secretary says at least 60 people have been injured.
Police and fire brigade have reached the spot and non-residents banned from entering the area.
Soutik Biswas reports for BBC News, New Delhi:
The choice of locations makes it clear that the blasts were intended to cause maximum casualties. But early footage of one of the blast sites – a ripped-off cover of a bus shelter and a car with its glass shattered – points to a medium-level and possibly crude explosion.
The blasts have been identified as improvised explosive devices, reports Indian media.
The blasts have taken place in strongholds of Shiv Sena with a large population of gujratis, reports NDTV.
Indian Home Ministry has confirmed the blasts.
The BBC reports “The blasts coincide with the birthday of Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, the sole surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks which killed nearly 170 people”.
Police is searching for unexploded bombs.
Four people have been killed in Zaveri Bazaar. The bomb was planted in an electric box.
Blast in Dadar west took place in a car. The license plate number of the car is MH 43 A 9384.
Indian media reports 10 killed in the blasts.
According to the police, two blasts took place in the south Mumbai and while one was in central Mumbai.
The markets where the blasts occured were filled with shoppers at the time of the blasts.
NIA team has been rushed to Mumbai, reports NDTV.
According to International Business Times, four people have been killed in the Zaveri bazaar blast.
Traffic in Mumbai has come to a standstill due to panic in the streets.
No deaths have been reported so far.
All injured are taken to the hospitals.
The blasts are reportedly of low intensity.
At least 15 people have been injured in the explosion.
Red alert has been issued in all major cities of India.
According to CNN-IBN, the blasts have occurred in Dadar, Opera House and Zaveri Bazar areas.
The blasts have occurred in Mumbai’s Opera House and Kabootarkhana.
Indian media reports that the explosion could have been a car bomb.
At least 13 people have been injured in the attacks.