x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Mumbai death toll rises as officials ramp up investigation

The death toll from this week's bombings in India's financial capital rose to 19 as investigators cast their net far and wide in search of suspects.

NEW DELHI // The death toll from the bombings in India's financial capital rose to 19 as Mumbai police continued yesterday to systematically sift through the evidence gathered from the site of the three blasts.

A police official said investigators had fanned out to at least three different cities in the country to probe the existence of terrorist outfits that may have links to the bombings.

The death toll in the blasts climbed to 19 when two injured men succumbed to their wounds, another police official said yesterday.

More than 100 people were still in hospitals in Mumbai and were being treated for wounds sustained when the bombs went off on Wednesday evening.

No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings and investigators have not named any suspects.

The investigators have been questioning suspected members of militant organisations in the southern cities of Bangalore and Hyderabad and the eastern cities of Ranchi and Kolkata, one of the police officials said.

Officials have said that the attack bore the hallmarks of the Indian Mujahideen, an Islamic militant group linked to Pakistan's Lashkar-i-Taiba, which has used similar explosives in the past.

The blasts were the deadliest terrorist attack in Mumbai since the 2008 siege that left 166 people dead.

Intelligence agencies have also examined Mumbai's criminal underworld, said Prithviraj Chavan, the top elected official in Maharashtra, the state of which Mumbai is the capital.

"All angles are being probed. We have set up many investigating teams, including one to probe if the underworld had a hand in the blasts," Mr Chavan said yesterday.

Mumbai's criminal gangs are headed by India's most wanted man, Dawood Ibrahim, the alleged mastermind behind bombings in Mumbai in 1993 that killed 257 people.

Mr Ibrahim has fled Mumbai and police now believe he lives in Karachi, but Pakistani officials deny that Ibrahim is in Karachi.

* Associated Press