Tue, Dec 02, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Mumbai attackers trained in Pakistan: Indian officials

FUNERALS DENIED The Muslim Jama Masjid Trust has refused to bury nine of the gunmen who terrorized Mumbai last week, saying they were not true followers of Islam

AGENCIES , MUMBAI, INDIA

Indian investigators said yesterday the militants who attacked Mumbai underwent months of commando training in Pakistan, raising tensions between the neighbors as recriminations mount in India.

The fallout prompted a second top politician from the ruling Congress party to resign, amid growing fury at intelligence lapses many Indians believe let 10 Islamist gunmen kill 183 people and besiege the Indian financial capital for three days.

The White House said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would visit India tomorrow, underscoring the seriousness with which the US viewed the attacks.

“I don’t want to jump to any conclusions myself on this, but I do think that this is a time for complete, absolute, total transparency and cooperation and that is what we expect [from Pakistan],” Rice told reporters traveling with her to London.

However, she downplayed the threat of conflict between two countries.

“This is a different relationship than it was a number of years ago. Obviously they share a common enemy because extremists in any form are a threat to the Pakistanis as well as the Indians,” Rice said.

Meanwhile, two senior investigators said on condition of anonymity that evidence from the interrogation of Azam Amir Kasav, the only gunmen not killed by commandos, clearly showed that Pakistani militants had a hand in the attack.

The clean-shaven, 21-year-old, who speaks fluent English, was photographed during the attack wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with the Versace logo. He has said his team took orders from “their command in Pakistan,” police officials said.

The training was organized by the Pakistani-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and conducted by a former member of the Pakistani army, a police officer close to the interrogation said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak.

“They underwent training in several phases, which included training in handling weapons, bomb making, survival strategies, survival in a marine environment and even dietary habits,” another officer said.

New Delhi has not accused Islamabad’s government of involvement but has expressed deep frustration that Pakistan has been unable or unwilling to prevent militants using its soil to attack Indian cities.

Meanwhile, a Muslim graveyard has refused to bury the nine slain attackers. The men were not true followers of the Islamic faith, said the influential Muslim Jama Masjid Trust, which runs the 3-hectare Badakabrastan graveyard in downtown Mumbai.

“People who committed this heinous crime cannot be called Muslim,” said Hanif Nalkhande, a trustee. “Islam does not permit this sort of barbaric crime.”

There are seven other Muslim graveyards in Mumbai, but the Jama Masjid’s influence means none of the others are likely to accept the bodies.

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