July 31, 2008 / 2:44 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Japan closes India visa office, warns over bombings

(Adds details, updates number of bombs found in Surat)

NEW DELHI, July 31 (Reuters) - The Japanese government closed the consular section of its embassy in India and warned its citizens to avoid crowded places such as markets and train stations after receiving an e-mail warning of a possible attack.

Japan’s embassy in New Delhi said in a statement in Japanese on its website that it had received an e-mail warning of an attack on New Delhi’s popular market district of Sarojini Nagar, where at least 66 people were killed in a 2005 bomb attack.

The consular section of the embassy would be closed from July 30 “for a while,” according to a spokesman.

Delhi police are investigating the e-mail, said Rajan Bhagat, a police spokesman.

Indian authorities have been on a high alert since at least 45 people were killed when a series of 16 bombs ripped through Ahmedabad, the main city of Gujarat state, on Saturday.

The attack came a day after bombs killed one woman in Bangalore, India’s outsourcing and software capital.

A group called the “Indian Mujahideen” said it carried out the Ahmedabad attack, writing in an e-mail sent five minutes before the first blast that it was in revenge for a 2002 massacre in Gujarat of around 2,500 people, mainly Muslims, by Hindu mobs.

Police have also defused at least 25 unexploded bombs in the western Indian city of Surat, one of the world’s biggest diamond-polishing centres, in the last few days. (Reporting by Alistair Scrutton; Editing by Jonathan Allen and Valerie Lee)

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