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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blast rips Pune’s popular German Bakery, very close to Headley’s recce spots

Terror Strikes Yet Again On Saturday 3 Foreigners, All Women, Among 9 Killed Just Across Jewish Chabad House, Osho Ashram

Asseem Shaikh, Swati Shinde & Mihir Tanksale | TNN 

Pune: Terror returned to haunt the country on Saturday when a bomb blast ripped through Pune's popular German Bakery, close to the Osho Ashram and diagonally across from the Jewish Chabad House, recced by 26/11 suspect David Coleman Headley. At least nine people were killed, three of them foreigners, all women. More than 45 people have been rushed to hospital with varying degrees of injury. 
    This is the first terror attack since the 26/11 Mumbai carnage. Over the last two months, there has been a 

growing buzz of an imminent strike, especially as India and Pakistan were preparing to resume talks that had been suspended after the Mumbai massacre. Now, there is a question mark over the dialogue scheduled to be held in Delhi on February 25. 
    The explosion took place at 7.15 pm when the bakery was milling with people, many of them foreigners. According to Union home secretary G K Pillai, there was an unattended packet which exploded when a waiter tried to open it. 
    The German Bakery is a popular haunt of foreigners like Leopold Cafe in Mumbai. In fact, both are mentioned by the Lonely Planet tourist guide and are therefore patronised by many backpackers. 

    Investigators from the army's bomb disposal squad said it appeared that a battery-operated improvised explosive device had been used. "We have found traces of an explosive,'' said M Z Ansari, one of the officials. The impact of the explosion was such that the concrete walls of the bakery caved in while its fibre roof was blown to bits. The body parts of some of the dead and the injured were found strewn on the North Main Road and near the gates of the O Hotel, a few metres from the bakery. 
    "The dead include some foreigners but we are still to establish their nationality and identity,'' minister of state for home Ramesh Bagwe told reporters. Most of the injured had suffered burns and fractures, doctors at Sassoon hospital said. 
    Chabad House in Mumbai, which was attacked on 26/11, had been recced by Headley, just as he had visited the Pune one. Headley had stayed at the Surya Villa Hotel in Pune's tony Koregaon area which is close to the blast site. 
    In Delhi, G K Pillai called an emergency meeting of security officials and instructed all state capitals to be put on high alert. A team also began interrogation of Batla House terror suspect Shahzad Ahmad to find out if he had any information about an impending attack in Pune. "It is most probably a terror attack. We are sending a forensic team of the CBI and personnel of the National Investigative Agency,'' Pillai said. 
    Panic gripped Pune as the news of the blast spread. The police, however, refused to confirm whether any terror group was involved, saying it was too early to arrive at a conclusion. They closed all roads to the Koregaon Park area and a nakabandi has been ordered across the city. 

The Pune police have identified the Indian victims as Vinita Gadkari and Shilpa Goenka (both from Mumbai), Shankar Pansare (of Velhe near Pune), Ankit and Anandi Dhar (Kolkata) and P Sundari (Bangalore). 

First Attack Since 26/11 
Three foreigners killed, four others among over 45 injured Blast at 7.15 pm when German Bakery was packed Union home ministry calls emergency meet, rushes experts Delhi, Mumbai and all state capitals put on high alert Terror strike may set back Indo-Pak talks 
Sept 27, 2008 | Blast in Delhi's Mehrauli flower market 
kills 1, injures 23 
Sept 13, 2008 | Serial blasts in Delhi kill 24, injure over 100 
July 26, 2008 | Serial 
blasts in Ahmedabad kill 30, injure over 100 
    Aug 25, 2007 | 30 die, 60 hurt in Hyderabad strike 
    Oct 2005 | Three blasts on Diwali eve in Delhi kill 62, injure hundreds 
'Foreigners suspected' 
Pune: Special secretary (home) U K Bansal on Saturday said "foreigners'' were suspected to have been involved in the Pune blast. State home minister R R Patil reached Pune late on Saturday night, while chief minister Ashok Chavan is expected to be in the city on Saturday. State deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal and some officials said while the police had inputs about a threat to the German Bakery and security had been beefed up in the Koregaon area, Patil denied there was any intelligence input about an attack.

Ali Reza, a Canadian, is rushed to hospital as the army moves in

German Bakery in the heart of Pune is popular with foreigners, just as Leopold restaurant is in Mumbai


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