Eight arrested in connection with bomb blasts in India's Gujarat

Eight arrested in connection with bomb blasts in India's Gujarat New Delhi  - Indian police arrested eight members of a banned Islamic group in connection with bombings in the western city of Ahmedabad that killed 56 people and injured more than 150 in July, news reports said Saturday.

The activists of the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) were arrested in southern Kerala and Karnataka and western Gujarat and Maharashtra states, NDTV news channel reported quoting a police official in Ahmedabad.

Ahmedabad, a key city of India's financially dynamic Gujarat state, was rocked by 21 synchronized bombings on July 26.

The suspects arrested Friday and Saturday were believed to have held several meetings in Ahmedabad and Vadodara, another city in Gujarat, in the days before the blasts.

At least 24 unexploded bombs were also found in the Gujarat city of Surat between July 27 and August 3.

A Muslim militant group calling itself the "Indian Mujahideen" claimed responsibility for the Ahmedabad bombings and had threatened more attacks in emails to media organizations.

The group claimed the attack was in revenge for the 2002 Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujarat in which 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.

Indian intelligence agencies suspect that the Indian Mujahideen may be a new name being used by the SIMI.

Authorities alleged the SIMI was linked with Islamic militant groups based in Pakistan, and accuse it of being involved in the serial bomb blasts on Mumbai's rail network that killed over 180 commuters in July, 2007. SIMI denied those allegations.

The Indian government banned the organization in 2002. (dpa)