India's IT capital rocked by bomb blasts

UPDATE 1: Police says string of bombings in Bangalore 'professional' as investigation begins.

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By  AFP Published  July 26, 2008

Police in India's IT capital Bangalore were on Saturday looking for clues to a "professional" string of bombings that left one dead and seven wounded.

"They appear to be the handiwork of professionals who have come prepared to cause the blasts," Karnataka state police chief R. Srikumar told newswire AFP.

"The evidence from the blast site indicates the bombs were professionally assembled with mechanisms to trigger them remotely."

Srikumar added the death toll now stood at one, with seven wounded. Officials earlier said two had died in the bombings.

Police also said they had cleared away an unexploded device found on Saturday in a suburb to the southeast of the city.

"Search and combing operations led to the detection of one unexploded bomb," said Srikumar.

The city was quiet Saturday, with IT offices closed for the weekend, after the series of at least eight coordinated blasts.

Two of Friday's blasts occurred close to police facilities, a third bomb went off in an upmarket city-centre business district and another explosion targeted a district that houses several computer software firms, police said.

Other blasts were reported from the southern suburbs of the religiously mixed and cosmopolitan city, which is the hub of India's burgeoning outsourcing and software industry, police said.

"The blasts were caused using gelatin [gelignite] sticks and timer devices," Bangalore city police commissioner Shankar Bidari said.

"The explosive materials were hidden in flower pots, in a road-side power transformer and in a blocked drain."

Karnataka state authorities appeared to be short of leads Saturday and have called for help from police in New Delhi, and offered a 100,000-rupee ($2,400) reward for anyone offering clues.

So far none of India's various Islamist or Maoist militant groups has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the serial bomb blasts and urged residents to "remain calm and maintain communal harmony", a spokesman said in New Delhi Friday.

Bangalore, home to more than six million people and some 1,500 domestic and foreign firms, has been relatively free of the militant attacks that have plagued other parts of the country.

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