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Page last updated at 02:46 GMT, Sunday, 27 July 2008 03:46 UK

Deadly blasts strike Indian city

Crowd gathers round scene of one of blasts
Makeshift devices appear to have been hidden in everyday items

At least 38 people have been killed and more than 100 wounded after a series of explosions struck the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, officials have said.

Seventeen blasts within an hour hit residential areas, crowded markets, a train station and a bus in Gujarat state's commercial capital, they added.

It is thought the explosions were caused by crudely-made devices hidden in boxes and on bicycles.

On Friday a series of similar blasts hit the southern city of Bangalore.

The Ahmedabad explosions came in two waves - the first occurring over a 20-minute period from about 1830 (1300 GMT).

There was another series of blasts shortly after.

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The aftermath of the bombing

TV stations broadcast images of a bus with its side blown up, shattered windows and the roof half-destroyed.

Footage also showed the body of a man lying motionless on the ground next to the bus, covered in blood.

The BBC's Damian Grammaticas, in India, says the explosions appear to have been a planned and highly co-ordinated attack.

Map of Ahmedabad

Some of the bombs in the second wave targeted the hospitals where the injured were being taken, he adds.

"We saw a blue bag near the trauma centre, and before we could react we saw it explode in a shine of blinding light, and some 40 people were hit by flying shrapnel," doctor Vipul Patil, at the Dhanwantari Hospital, told AFP news agency.

Ahmedabad is an ethnically diverse city which has suffered from political instability in the past.

Riots broke out there in 2002 between Hindus and Muslims.

Reports suggested many of Saturday's blasts were in the city's crowded old quarter - a religiously-mixed area.

Analysts believe the attack may be linked to the Bangalore bombs and could be designed to whip up trouble between religious communities.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has appealed for people to remain calm.

India has been hit by several waves of bombings in recent years. Targets have ranged from mosques and Hindu temples to trains and courthouses.


SEE ALSO
In pictures: Ahmedabad blast
26 Jul 08 |  In Pictures
Bangalore police find eighth bomb
26 Jul 08 |  South Asia
Timeline: India
24 Jul 08 |  Country profiles


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