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Eight Killed In Bomb Blast In India


PUNE, India (Reuters) -- At least eight people were killed after a bomb blast ripped through a restaurant popular with foreign tourists in the western Indian city of Pune today, 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 foreign women were among those killed, police said.

"The explosive was in a bag kept in the bakery. Four women foreigners were killed. Their nationality is not known." Dilip Band, a senior police official, told CNN-IBN televison.

The explosion comes days before top officials from India and Pakistan are to meet in New Delhi on February 25. New Delhi suspended a 4-year-old peace process with Islamabad after the Mumbai attacks, blamed on Pakistani-based militants.

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

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

"There are eight dead and 33 injured in the blast at the German Bakery," Rajendra Sonawane, a joint commissioner of police, told reporters before it was confirmed that the blast was caused by a bomb.

"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.

Militants killed 166 people during a three day rampage through the financial hub of Mumbai in 2008. Pakistani-based militants were blamed for the attack which raised tensions between nuclear rivals Pakistan and India.

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.