Credicorp Securities Headlines Triple Blasts Hit Mumbai, Killing 21-poper

Business By GEETA ANAND and MEGHA BAHREE in Mumbai and AMOL SHARMA in New Delhi MUMBAIBombs exploded in three places in Indias financial capital of Mumbai on Wednesday evening, leaving at least 21 people dead in what appeared to be Indias worst terrorist attack since a three-day militant siege here in 2008. The city was placed on high alert after the blasts, which officials believed were a coordinated attack by terrorists, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said at a news conference. He didnt say whether he believed the perpetrators were homegrown or foreign-based. The attacks underscored Indias significant domestic security vulnerabilities, despite efforts in recent years to bolster intelligence-gathering and coordination between local and national-security officials. The attacks could also .plicate nascent efforts at establishing peace between India and neighboring rival Pakistan. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the attacks. I appeal to people of Mumbai to remain calm and show a united face, he said in a statement. The blasts occurred within minutes of each other, at around 6:45 p.m. in crowded parts of the city. Officials said the most powerful of the three occurred in the Opera House neighborhood, an area of south Mumbai that hosts the citys diamond hub. At least 50 of the wounded from the area were brought to Saifee Hospital, according a volunteer who was coordinating with relatives who waited at the facilitys gate for news of loved ones. At the hospital gate, Parag Mahindra Shah said he had been winding up his days work at a jewelry business when he heard the explosion. Windows shattered and glass flew into his office. Outside, the damage was worse, he said: His 37-year-old relative who also works in the area, a real-estate broker, was caught in the explosion, Mr. Shah said. The relative, whose abdomen and face were blown apart, died at the hospital, he said. A second bomb exploded at south Mumbais Zaveri Bazaar, a wholesale market for jewelry, cloth, drugs and other goods that one local guild president said had one million visitors a day. The third happened at a bus stop in Dadar, a middle-class zone in central Mumbai. Indias Home Affairs Ministry said just before midnight Wednesday local time that 21 people were killed and 141 injured. The home minister said a team of investigators from Indias National Security Guard was on its way to the scenes. President Barack Obama condemned the attacks. We will offer support to Indias efforts to bring the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to justice, he said in a statement. Mumbai has been a frequent target over the years for terrorist strikes. Wednesdays attacks fit with the pattern of previous serial blasts in Indias largest city aimed at busy neighborhoods and public transportation. In November 2008, the city was the target of Indias worst terrorist attack, when Pakistan-based militants killed more than 160 people in a shooting spree at hotels and other venues. The attacks traumatized the nation, sparking a debate over Indias internal security preparedness and leading to a breakdown of diplomatic relations with Pakistan. The two countries have tried to mend their relations in recent months, with high-level officials restarting talks on a range of issues. But there is still major distrust between them. Indian officials want Pakistan to do more to punish those responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attack and generally crack down on militant groups on its soil. While no suspects were named and no group came forward to claim responsibility Wednesday, if Pakistani-based militants ultimately are held responsible, it could throw the countries dtente off course and lead to new tensions between the historic rivals. In a statement, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the blasts and expressed sympathy over the loss of life. India is expected to be in a state of high alert for other potential strikes. The police and the government need to look into the implications of the blastwhether this is a prelude to bigger terrorist activities or simply a warning, said Suba Chandran, director of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, a New Delhi-based think tank. The bomb at Zaveri Bazaar was placed in an umbrella in or near a motorcycle in Khau Galior Food Street in the local Marathi languageMumbais police .missioner, Arup Patnaik, told local television channels. Bavani Shankar, a 28-year-old salesman in a jewelry store in Zaveri Bazaar, was eating dinner on the road when he heard a loud blast. He captured the immediate aftermath on a video on his mobile phone, showing a ball of fire in the street and crowds of people running in all directions. Some victims lost limbs in the blasts, witnesses said. I have never seen people running without hands and feetit was horrible, said Pankaj Jain, who has a jewelry business across town and had .e to the bazaar when the blast occurred. It was chaos and horror. Zaveri Bazaar has been targeted twice before. In 1993, a bomb was planted in the bazaar in a series of explosions in the city, and in 2003, a blast there resulted in many dead. The bomb at Dadar was hidden in an electrical box near a bus station, the police .missioner said. Down the road is a school, a temple and a mosque. Witnesses there, many standing in the rain Wednesday night beyond a police cordon, described panic following the explosion. Ten or 15 worshipers ran out of the temple about 100 yards away, to find the facade of the bus stop blown off, a metal bar ripped off and dangling. Diksha Sahni in Mumbai, Krishna Pokharel and Shefali Anand in New Delhi and Tom Wright in Islamabad, Pakistan, contributed to this article. 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