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Bombs Injure at Least 14 Inside Grand Mosque in New Delhi


India was rocked with violence on Friday as bombs exploded in the country's biggest mosque in the Indian capital, and a series of grenade attacks shook Indian Kashmir. At least 10 people were injured in the attack on the mosque in New Delhi, and five people were killed and about 20 injured in Kashmir.

Police say two bombs exploded within about 15 minutes of each other inside New Delhi's Jama Masjid mosque soon after hundreds of Muslims had offered Friday prayers. Women and children were among those injured.

Government officials and Muslim leaders appealed for calm as angry crowds chanted slogans in the congested neighborhood where the 17th century mosque is located.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil vowed to take all steps to protect what he called "the secular fabric of the country."

"We will not allow the people who want to create confusion in this manner to cause any harm to anybody belonging to any religion, any structure in the country," said Shivraj Patil.

The explosions in New Delhi occurred after a series of grenade attacks rocked the commercial heart of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir on Friday. The attacks took place along busy roads, and one of the city's most popular tourist attractions, the Dal Lake.

The attacks targeted paramilitary trucks and security bunkers, but civilians were among those killed or injured.

As ambulances and police cars raced through the streets, panicked shop owners downed shutters, and fled home.

The blasts shook Srinagar as hundreds of people were heading towards a popular Muslim shrine to offer special prayers to mark the anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad's birth earlier in the week.

A local news agency said that four prominent Muslim militant organizations, had claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Bomb and grenade attacks blamed on these militant groups have been a regular occurrence in divided Kashmir since 1989 when a rebellion to free the Himalayan region from Indian rule began. But violence has declined in the region since India and Pakistan launched a peace process to settle their differences over Kashmir, which is claimed by both countries.

Other attacks blamed on Muslim militants have taken place in the Indian capital, the Hindu holy city of Varanasi and Bangalore in the past year.

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