At least 16 people have been feared killed and 45 injured in two explosions near a busy bus stop at Dilsukh Nagar on the outskirts of Hyderabad on Thursday evening. Authorities warned that the toll is expected to rise.
The injured have been rushed to the nearby hospitals. As many as 50 people are trapped in the aftermath of the blasts.
The Intelligence Bureau and the Hyderabad police have confirmed that the blasts that occurred at Hyderabad were an act of terror.
The police have cordoned off the area and are searching for unexploded bombs, if any. It appears to be a well-planned operation and the timing was aimed to cause major destruction, said sources in the IB.
The blasts occurred at a busy market area, near a bus stop and two movie theatres, which were packed in the evening. One of the blasts destroyed a tiffin centre.
The IB confirmed that intelligence agencies had received a terror alert regarding Hyderabad.
The security agencies are clueless about which organisation may have carried out the terror strike. Officials said the terror strike could have been carried out by terrorists or anit-social elements.
A high alert has been declared across Hyderabad. Senior officials and ministers have rushed to the spot.
A team of forensic experts of the National Security Guard, the country's premier counter-terror force, was on Thursday night flown to Hyderabad.
The 'post-blasts' analysis team have been sent to Hyderabad, sources said, adding experts from the Chennai hub of the Black Cat commando force have also been rushed to the Andhra Pradesh capital.
Union Home Secretary R K Singh said the NSG team is also leaving for Hyderabad by an aircraft of the Border Security Force.
Chief Minister N Kiran Reddy, who rushed to the blast site, has ordered a high-level probe.
Preliminary investigations have revealed that the bombs were placed in tiffin boxes and traces of improvised explosive devices have been found. The bombs were placed on motor bikes and were triggered with a timer device. The impact of the blasts could have been magnified by a cylinder that was kept next to the device.
The police have cordoned off the area as they do not want the evidence to be disturbed.
The police are examining reports of a third blast that took place ten minutes after the twin blasts at Hyderabad.
“There were reports of a third explosion in the same area,” said a police official, adding that they were also examining reports about a suspicious object at the blast site.
Based on eye-witness accounts, the police have confirmed that one of the bombs was placed on a motor cycle while the second one was placed on a bicycle a few minutes before the blasts.
The National Investigation Agency will take over the probe into the Hyderabad serial blasts. An unit of the NIA has already reached Hyderabad and another team from Delhi will also participate in the probe.
The Hyderabad police will help the NIA in its probe. The agency is already tracking the Mecca Masjid blasts case that had rocked the city five years ago.
The NIA will try to find out if either the Indian Mujahideen or the Harkat-ul-Juhadi Islami were behind the blast and compare its modus operandi to earlier strikes.
“We will look at all the angles and seek the help of the local police,” said a NIA official