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One Dead, 25 Injured in Blast, Stampede in India’s Varanasi

An explosion followed by a stampede in the north Indian city of Varanasi killed a 2-year old girl and injured about 25 people, the Times Now television channel reported, citing government officials.

The blast at about 6:20 p.m. local time was of low intensity and its cause was being determined, Home Secretary Gopal K. Pillai told Times Now. About five people were hurt in the blast and another 20 in the stampede, Pillai said.

The explosion occurred as pilgrims and tourists gathered for evening prayers on the banks of the river Ganga, Times Now said. An Italian national was among the injured, the Press Trust of India reported, citing Deputy Inspector General of Police Prem Prakash.

A group called the Indian Mujahideen took responsibility for the explosion in an e-mail sent to news organizations, the CNN-IBN television station said. The attack was in response to a September court verdict that split land disputed by Muslims and Hindus in the northern town of Ayodhya between the faiths, the channel said.

The federal government issued a nationwide alert after the blast, Pillai said.

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