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Security heightened after blasts

Nov. 24, 2007 at 12:59 AM   |   Comments

LUCKNOW, India, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- India's major cities were on high security alert Saturday after near-simultaneous blasts in three towns reportedly killed 14 people.

The blasts were set off Friday in Lucknow, capital of northern Uttar Pradesh state, and Faizabad and Varanasi in the same state.

The Press Trust of India reported ix blasts, all in the vicinity of crowded courts, claimed 14 lives, and left at least 50 people injured. Some of the bombs had been planted on bicycles.

A police official in Varanasi said nine of those killed were from his city, one of the holiest cities for Hindus because the sacred Ganges River flows through it.

Uttar Pradesh is India's largest state and the constituency of Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi of the Congress Party, which leads India's ruling coalition.

The blasts reportedly came a week after security agencies in the state foiled an alleged plot and arrested three suspected members of the terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed, based in Pakistan. Earlier reports said the three had planned to abduct a prominent political figure, possibly Rahul Gandhi.

State Chief Minister Kumari Mayawati blamed the attacks on the failure of federal intelligence agencies, the BBC reported.

© 2007 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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