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Last Updated: Friday, 21 July 2006, 11:25 GMT 12:25 UK
First arrests in Mumbai bombings
A police officer escorts one of the suspects
It is not clear how significant the arrests are
Police in India have arrested three men in connection with a series of bombings that killed more than 180 people in the city of Mumbai (Bombay) last week.

The police have detained more than 300 suspects but these are the first arrests in the case.

Two of the men were detained on Thursday in the northern state of Bihar and the third later in Mumbai.

The three belong to a banned group, the Students Islamic Movement of India (Simi), officials say.

Some Simi members were held earlier in the inquiry.

The organisation has denied any involvement in the attacks.

A senior police official involved in the investigation, K P Raghuvanshi, told reporters that the men have links to Nepal or Bangladesh, which point "directly or indirectly to Pakistan".

Foiled attack

The BBC's Zubair Ahmed in Mumbai says it is not clear how significant the arrests are.

The three accused are suspected to have played minor roles in the blasts, but a senior police officer told the BBC that the arrests might lead them to the brains behind the operation.

He said the attacks were the most precise ever carried out in India.

Policeman by candles lit in memory of the blast victims
Security has been stepped up since the bomb attacks

He also said that police had foiled a major attack only weeks before the explosions in Mumbai.

The three suspects are due to appear before a court in Mumbai on Friday.

Arrests in connection with previous attacks in Mumbai have not always led to successful prosecutions.

A court in Mumbai recently acquitted all the men who had been charged with carrying out bomb attacks in the city four years ago.

At the time, police had treated the arrests as a major breakthrough, our correspondent says.

The blasts took place on 11 July, when seven commuter trains were bombed in less than 15 minutes.

'Unsubstantiated comments'

Indian security officials had earlier suggested that the Mumbai bombings bore the hallmarks of Lashkar-e-Toiba, a Pakistan-based militant group fighting Indian rule in Kashmir.

Pakistan has denied any involvement in the blasts.

On Thursday evening President Pervez Musharraf gave a televised address in which he warned against unsubstantiated comments from India and hoped peace moves would continue.

"Pakistan will co-operate to identify the terrorists, if you give us proof," he said.

India postponed talks after the bombs but says it is still committed to the peace process.




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