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'We thought it was a tyre burst'
Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad | May 18, 2007 16:37 IST
It turned out be a bloody afternoon at the historic Mecca Masjid in the Old City of Hyderabad when a powerful bomb exploded right in the mosque premises. As per official count, five persons were killed and about 17 persons were injured seriously, under the impact of the blast.
After the incident, tension prevailed in the areas all around Mecca Masjid and Charminar as thousands tried to reach the place to see for themselves what had happened. The city police swung into action and deployed the City Armed Reserve, AP Special Police and elite commandos immediately.
The security forces restored calm area after a brief struggle.
An eye-witness to the blast, who identified himself as Aijaz, told redff.com, said that the bomb exploded around 1.25 pm. "When the Friday prayers were about to conclude and we were turning our heads towards the right, we heard a deafening sound. We thought it was a tyre burst outside. But we looked around and realised that it was a bomb blast.
Several namazis who were near the water pool (where the namazis perform ablutions before the prayer) were injured. Four persons died on the spot while the other namazis started taking out the injured by lifting them on their hands. I am sure many persons were injured. I am shaken by this incident. I have never seen such heart-rending scenes and wailing and shrikes of the injured. It will haunt me all my life," he said in an emotion-choked voice.
Mecca Masjid is the biggest mosque, located near the historic Charminar in the Old City of Hyderabad. This is the first incident of its kind in this over 400-year-old mosque. Every Friday, the mosque attracts a large number of faithful for the noon prayers. The mosque was filled to its capacity of 10,000 this Friday afternoon, too, and people began running helter-skelter after the blast.
Ambulances rushed to the spot and the injured were taken to the Osmania General Hospital and other nearby hospitals. Eye-witnesses said most of the injured had sustained critical injuries on their limbs or head and chest. Several children were among the injured.