India blast site
Photo: AFP

At least 9 killed in India blast; Israelis safe

Dozens hurt as bomb rips through restaurant popular with foreign tourists in Pune; explosive device placed in bag, police say. No Israeli casualties reported in blast

At least nine people were killed after a bomb blast ripped through a restaurant popular with foreign tourists in the western Indian city of Pune on Saturday, police and Home Ministry officials said.


The explosion marked the first such major attack in India since the Mumbai attacks in November 2008.

"There has been a bomb blast," senior police official Rajendra Sonawane told reporters. "There was an abandoned bag which seems to have contained some IED (improvised explosive device)."


Four or five foreigners were among the 33 wounded, officials said. One local television said three foreigners had been killed.


The explosion at German Bakery occurred late in the evening, when the restaurant was packed with tourists and foreigners.


Israelis unhurt

Amos Barzilai of the local Chabad-Lubavitch center told Ynet the attack took place "two buildings away from the Chabad house." Barzilai said there were currently 15 Israelis in the city and that they were all safe and sound.


"We are sitting here, studying the Torah and thanking God the attack was not at our center," he said.

"The explosion shook the whole building, but it sustained no damages," Barzilai added. "We were naturally frightened by the noise; it took us a few seconds to realize what had happened. Shortly after, we heard the squad cars outside."


The Foreign Ministry was monitoring the situation, and has confirmed that no Israelis casualties were reported in the attack.


Meanwhile, an Israeli tourist who was staying at a nearby hotel told Ynet that the attack site was very quite following the explosion.


"It's completely different than what we are used to in Israel. All the surrounding streets are backed up with cars; this area has always had heavy traffic jams – and now it has reached extreme proportions – motorcyclists are even driving on the sidewalks.


"The street itself is quiet, as if nothing happened. It's very strange; police officers slowly put up blockades and removed people from the scene. They closed off the street and now everything is empty and deserted," he said.  


'Tiny body parts everywhere'

Debris was strewn all around the bakery, located near Osho ashram, which is also frequented by foreigners, and also near a Jewish centre. The impact of the blast knocked the bakery's sign off and blew out windows.


"We heard a big noise and we all rushed out. The impact was so much that there were tiny body parts everywhere," said Vinod Dhale, an employee at the bakery.


The explosion comes days before top officials from India and Pakistan are to meet in New Delhi on Feb. 25. New Delhi suspended a four-year-old peace process with Islamabad after the Mumbai attacks, blamed on Pakistani-based militants.


Before Mumbai, a wave of bombs hit Indian cities in 2008, killing more than 100 people. Police blamed most of those attacks on home-grown Muslim militants, although some Hindu militants have also been suspected of carrying out several attacks.


פרסום ראשון: 02.13.10, 18:38
 new comment
This will delete your current comment