Indian police are investigating whether a shadowy Islamic militant group was responsible for a double bomb attack that killed 16 people outside a cinema and a bus station in Hyderabad.
The group, the Indian Mujahideen, is thought to have links with militants in neighbouring Pakistan.
India’s recent execution of an Islamic militant is being examined as a possible motive for the bombings, a police official said.
Police have not detained anyone in connection with Thursday’s attacks, the first major terror bombings in India since 2011.
According to a New Delhi police report, two suspected Indian Mujahideen militants who were arrested last year said during questioning that they had done reconnaissance of Dilsukh Nagar, the Hyderabad district where the blasts occurred. They had also visited various locations in New Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.
Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde told India’s parliament that in response to the “cowardly terror attack,” the government will “make all efforts to apprehend the perpetrators and masterminds behind the blast and ensure that they are punished as per the law”.
Earlier yesterday, as he toured the site of the bombings, Mr Shinde said there had been a general alert about the possibility of an attack somewhere in India for the past three days. “But there was no specific intelligence about a particular place,” he said.
The bombs which were attached to two bicycles 150 metres apart, exploded in quick succession in a crowded shopping area.
The blasts shattered shopfronts, scattered food and plates from roadside restaurants and left tangles of dead bodies.
Passers-by rushed many of the 117 wounded to hospitals in the city.
Top state police officer V. Dinesh Reddy said improvised explosive devices with nitrogen compound were used in the explosions, which he blamed on a “terrorist network”.