09/14/2008, 00.00
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A dozen arrested over attack in New Delhi, 21 dead, 100 wounded

by Nirmala Carvalho
Security forces have interrogated a dozen people, and hope to solve the case "soon". Responsibility for the attack has been claimed by an Islamic group that announces new attacks. The solidarity of the Catholic Church and of the international community, while the prime minister calls for "calm".

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - Unanimous condemnation from the political and religious world against the attacks that on Saturday, September 13, struck in New Delhi: in a few minutes, five bombs ripped apart the economic and commercial heart of the city, causing the death of 21 people and the wounding of another 100.

This morning, Indian police announced that they have arrested a dozen suspects, from whom they have received "information of vital importance" for identifying those responsible for the attack. Responsibility has been claimed by a self-proclaimed Islamic group that calls itself "Indian Mujahideen", which in an e-mail sent to the newspapers of the country announces new attacks and proclaims: "Do whatever you can. Stop us if you can". The group also said it is responsible for two other recent bomb attacks in Jaipur and Bangalore.

Rajan Bhagat, spokesman for the New Delhi police, has announced "a series of arrests", and stresses the hope "of solving the case in short order". Two bombs placed by Islamic fundamentalists struck Connaught Place - an important economic and financial center - and two others ripped apart the commercial district of Greater Kailash, in which the shops of the city are concentrated. Security forces also found and disarmed four more bombs.

The Indian Catholic Church is condemning the terrorist attack in no uncertain terms, and, through the president of the bishops' conference, expresses its "deepest sympathies to the bereaved families". "Nothing can justify the killing of innocent lives, a senseless killing", Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil tells AsiaNews. "These cowardly acts are inhuman, committed against innocent people, and such an act of terror is a challenge and an affront to civilised society". "The Church in India expresses our deepest condolences to the families of the victims of today's brutal attacks. We pray for a speedy recovery to the injured". "All terrorism is evil", continues the president of the bishops' conference, "and only serves to create chaos and distrust, and to disrupt the daily routine of people and take the innocent lives of men, women and children. We must condemn all forms of terrorism".

"Every life", concludes Cardinal Vithayathil, "is a precious gift of God that must be protected at all costs. Nothing can justify the killing of innocent lives, a senseless killing. The Church in India prays that there may be no acts of reprisal, and we pray for peace in our motherland". In recent weeks, India has been the theater of a series of attacks by Hindu fundamentalists against the Christian community in Orissa, and against the Missionaries of Charity.

Solidarity has also been expressed by Pakistani president-elect Asif Ali Zardari, who condemns the attack. English foreign minister Jack Straw, on official visit to Delhi, condemns the "horrible attacks". The American ambassador in Delhi, David C, Mulford, says the United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder with India in the fight against terrorists. Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh deplores the criminal act, and launches an appeal for "calm" in the country.

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