A series of bombs exploded at a park and at crowded shopping areas across India's capital Saturday evening, killing at least 18 people and wounding dozens. Muslim extremists claimed to be behind the latest in a recent wave of attacks that has killed more than 100.
The bombs were timed for maximum bloodshed and panic. Placed in jammed shopping districts, the explosives began to go off just before sundown – prime time for weekend shoppers in crowded, chaotic New Delhi – sending thousands fleeing in fear.
Home Minister Shivraj Patil said at least 18 people died in five explosions, but some media reports put the death toll as high as 25. Mayor Arti Mehra said at least 61 more suffered wounds.
“It's a very cowardly act of violence,” Mehra told reporters near the scene of two of the explosions, in the M-Block market of the upscale Greater Kailash neighborhood. “They want to break the spirit of Delhi. They have tried this in other places before and they have not succeeded and they will not succeed here. They will not scare us.”
Just who the attackers are was unclear.
A number of Indian media outlets received an e-mail sent just before the blasts warning that India was about to receive “the Message of Death.”
“In the name of Allah, Indian Mujahideen strikes back once more. … Do whatever you can. Stop us if you can,” said the message.