Indian officials blame Pakistan for 3 blasts that killed 59 people in New Delhi

A little-known group that police say has ties to Pakistan-based militants fighting in divided Kashmir has owned up to three blasts that killed 59 people in New Delhi. But Indian officials appeared hesitant to immediately blame anyone on the Pakistani side of the frontier.

Authorities said they already had gathered useful clues about the near-simultaneous blasts on Saturday night that ripped through a bus and two markets crowded with shoppers ahead of the Hindu festival of Diwali.

Investigators reportedly raided dozens of small hotels across India's capital looking for suspects, and police said "numerous" people were being questioned.

Security was tight across New Delhi as residents, shaken by the blasts, returned to work.

The attacks came at particularly sensitive time as India and Pakistan hashed out an unprecedented agreement to partially open the heavily militarised frontier that divides the disputed territory of Kashmir to speed relief to victims of the region's October 8 earthquake.

The agreement was finalised early on Sunday, and Indian officials balked at quickly putting the blame for the bombings on Pakistan-based militants, unlike in previous terror attacks during a 16-year-old insurgency by Islamic separatists in India's part of Kashmir.

India's accusations of Pakistani involvement in a 2001 attack on parliament put the two nuclear-armed rivals on the brink of a fourth war. But they pulled back and, after pursuing peace efforts since early last year, both appeared intent on keeping the atmosphere calm.

"We have lots of information but it is not proper to disclose it yet," Indian Home Minister Shivraj Patil told journalists after an emergency Cabinet meeting to discuss the attacks. "The investigation is going well."

Pakistan's government was quick to condemn the bombings, reports Scotsman. I.L.

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