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Three arrested in India blasts that killed 77

Associated Press / November 2, 2008
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GAUHATI, India - Police have arrested three people and are investigating whether local militants received help from other terrorist groups in carrying out coordinated attacks that killed at least 77 people in India's troubled northeast, officials said yesterday.

Two people were taken into custody because their vehicles - a car and a motorcycle - are believed to have been used in two of the 13 blasts that rocked Assam state Thursday, said Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, a state inspector-general of police.

Police also arrested Nazir Ahmed, whose cellphone was allegedly used by a little-known group to send a text message to television station News Live claiming responsibility for the attacks, Mahanta said.

R. Chandranathan, another state inspector-general of police, said the group, calling itself the Islamic Security Force (Indian Mujahadeen), also thanked its partners in the text message and warned of future attacks.

Chandranathan, who is heading the police investigation, said the group came into existence in 2000 mainly to thwart attacks by Bodo tribespeople on Muslim settlers in Assam state, but that nothing had been heard of it since then.

The name echoes that of the Indian Mujahideen, a group unknown until May when it said it was behind bombings in the western city of Jaipur that killed 61 people.

It also claimed responsibility for blasts in the western state of Gujarat in July that killed at least 45, and blasts in New Delhi in September that killed 21.

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