In some ways, these small scale attacks are more worrying than the "spectaculars", simply because they are easier to pull off and they create a climate of "immediate" fear when there seems to be no significant target. Simply to kill as many as possible, in this case, probably tourists feature in the plans.

India bomb blasts kill at least 60
Associated Press

May 13, 2008 at 12:48 PM EDT

JAIPUR, India Five bombs ripped through crowded parts of an ancient city in western India on Tuesday, killing at least 60 people and wounding 100 others, officials said.

The explosions in Jaipur took place in markets and several other areas of the city in Rajasthan, a region dotted with palaces and temples that draw hundreds of thousands of Indian and foreign tourists every year, said A.K. Jain, a top police official in Jaipur.

Rajasthan state Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said at least 60 had died.

Rohit Singh, a senior official in the state of Rajasthan where the bombs exploded, later told local television that between 50 and 60 people had been killed in six blasts "as per information available with me right now."

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This television grab from NDTV shows one of the sites of a series of bomb blasts which tore through crowded markets in the northwestern Indian city of Jaipur on May 13, 2008. (HO/AFP/Getty Images)

Earlier, Rajasthan's police chief, A.S. Gill, put the death toll at 30.

"Obviously, it's a terrorist plot," he told reporters. "The way it has been done, the attempt was to cause the maximum damage to human life."

He added bicycles may have been used in the bombings. But he did not say if the explosives were detonated by suicide bombers riding through the crowds or if the bombs had simply been planted on parked bicycles.

Authorities put New Delhi, India's capital, and Mumbai, the country's financial center, on high alert along with several other cities shortly after the bombings, which began just before 7:30 p.m.

Security was also stepped up at aiports and railway stations across the country, said India's junior home minister, Sriprakash Jaiswal.

One the blasts in Jaipur reportedly hit a market near a temple dedicated to the Hindu monkey god Hanuman. Tuesday is the day of worship set aside for Hanuman, and the temple was packed with people offering prayers on the way home from work.

The Press Trust of India news agency said another blast took place near the Johari Bazaar the city's jewelry market, a popular destination for tourists. The tourist season ended in March and there were no immediate indications that foreigners had been caught in the explosions.

Bombings have plagued India since 2005. Last year, two explosions killed 43 people in the southern city of Hyderabad; seven bombings along Mumbai's commuter rail network killed nearly 200 people in July 2006, and three New Delhi markets were bombed in October 2005, killing 62 people.

There have also been a number of smaller explosions, and India has repeatedly blamed the attacks on Islamic militant groups backed by neighbor and rival Pakistan an allegation Islamabad routinely denies.

While Indian officials had not yet openly blamed Pakistan-based militants for Tuesday's attack, Jaiswal, the junior home minister, suggested the bombings were connected to previous explosions.

"The blasts are part of a big conspiracy," he told reporters.