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Deadly blast rips popular eatery in western city of Pune

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-02-14

An explosion at a popular eatery in the western Indian city of Pune on a busy Saturday night killed at least nine people and wounded more than 30 others, according to police officials.

A massive blast ripped through a popular bakery and restaurant in the western Indian city of Pune on a busy Saturday evening, killing at least nine people and wounding more than 30 others in the first major attack in India since the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.

The blast occurred at the German Bakery, an eatery popular with tourists and local residents in the elite Koregaon Park area of the city. Police say two foreign nationals, an Italian and an Iranian, were among the nine killed.

The attack took place while the trendy eatery in the heart of downtown Pune was packed with Saturday night customers. The German Bakery, a landmark among Pune residents, is located not far from the Osho ashram – a popular spiritual centre frequented by Western nationals – and a Jewish centre.

"We heard a big noise and we all rushed out. The impact was so much that there were tiny body parts everywhere," Vinod Dhale, an employee at the bakery, told the Reuters news service.

Reporting from the site shortly after the attack, Inmtiaz Jaleel, a special correspondent for NDTV, a leading Indian news channel, told FRANCE 24 that the bakery was “very badly damaged and the area was covered in blood”.

Similarities in targeting and timing of attacks

Indian news organisations quoted security officials as saying a PVC bag was recovered in an abandoned auto-rickshaw near the site. The bag is believed to have contained the explosives.

No group has taken responsibility for the attack. But the target – a trendy eatery popular with tourists – mirrored some of the targets in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, in which nearly 200 people, including six foreign nationals, were killed.

Pune is situated 153 kilometres to the east of Mumbai. It is a heavily industrialised city based in Maharashtra, the state of which Mumbai is the capital.

Reporting from the Indian capital of New Delhi, FRANCE 24’s Vikram Singh said the German Bakery has the same profile as Mumbai’s Leopold Café, which was the first establishment to be attacked on November 26, 2008, marking the start of a prolonged series of attacks at popular tourist destinations in India’s commercial capital.

The German Bakery is located not far from the Chabad House, a Jewish centre run by the orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch movement whose members were targeted in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

According to the Indian government, the 2008 Mumbai attacks were conducted by members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant organisation.

“There are similarities in the targeting and timing between this attack and similar other attacks in the past that have been conducted by fundamentalist Islamist groups,” said Singh. “But so far, no group has stepped forward and claimed responsibility for this attack.”

Date created : 2010-02-13

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