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Security Chiefs Probe Fatal Blasts In Mumbai

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MUMBAI
PA

PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Indian officials have called an emergency security meeting to investigate three co-ordinated bombings that killed at least 21 people and wounded 141 others in the country's financial capital in the worst terrorist attack since the 2008 Mumbai siege.

A steady drizzle washed away bloodstains and threatened evidence at the site of the attack on Wednesday evening, which ripped off storefronts, shredded a bus stop and left bloody bodies strewn in the dirt of Mumbai's crowded neighbourhoods and market.

Shell-shocked residents lambasted the government for failing to detect the plot, despite massive security measures taken after the attacks three years ago that New Delhi has blamed on Pakistan-based Islamist militants.

No one has claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attacks, which came just months after peace talks resumed between India and Pakistan. Indian officials have so far refused to speculate on who might be behind the blasts.

Arup Patnaik, a top police officer, said the attackers used improvised explosive devices in the attack, hidden in an umbrella in the Jhaveri Bazaar jewellery market and kept in a car in the business district of Opera House.

The third blast in Dadar area was caused by an explosive device concealed in an electric meter at a bus stop, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the blasts and appealed to the people of Mumbai "to remain calm and show a united face".

Pakistan's government expressed distress about the loss of lives and injuries soon after Wednesday's blasts were reported.

Indian officials have accused Pakistan's powerful spy agency of helping co-ordinate and fund earlier attacks, including the 2008 Mumbai siege, which killed 166 people over three days. Peace talks between the countries were suspended after the siege and resumed only recently.

President Barack Obama also condemned the "outrageous attacks".