One person was killed and over 20 people were injured in a series of explosions at a convention center of a Christian group in Kochi on Sunday morning. The explosion was reported during a Jehovah's Witnesses prayer meeting The cause of the explosions remains unknown however, the witnesses reported multiple blasts at the center. The blasts took place at 9:40 a.m. (IST) in the church which at that time had 2,500 persons gathered. The three-day convention began on October 27 and was scheduled to conclude on Sunday noon (October 29).
A four-member team comprising the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and local authorities is leading the investigation into a series of explosions in Kerala. Additionally, National Security Guards and counter-terror experts have been rapidly deployed to the incident site to assist in the probe. Kerala's Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, has described the explosions as "unfortunate" and emphasized that the situation is being treated seriously. The state's senior officials are en route to the explosion site to oversee the situation and coordinate the response.
In the wake of the explosions, Kerala's Health Minister, Veena George, has issued an order mandating that all medical personnel report for duty. This directive aims to ensure swift and effective medical attention for the victims of the blasts, who have sustained severe burn injuries. The injured individuals have been relocated to medical facilities, including Kalamaserry Medical College and various private hospitals.
In a press conference, Kerala's Director General of Police (DGP) confirmed the usage of a low-intensity Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in the blasts. The severity of burn injuries suffered by the victims has led investigators to explore this possibility. Importantly, the timing of these explosions has raised concerns, as they occurred just a day after former Hamas leader Khaled Mashal participated in a virtual meeting in Malappuram, situated in North Kerala. This context has prompted authorities to consider all potential angles, including any external links or motives that may have played a role in the blasts.
Editorial - Sally (Anh) Ngo,
October 29, 2023
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