New Delhi: Police launched a manhunt on Thursday for four men they said belonged to a Pakistan-based terrorist group and had entered Mumbai to carry out an attack.
The members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group were planning to strike around the Christmas and New Year festivities, police said. Indian authorities blame the group for a raid by gunmen in Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people and raised tensions with arch rival Pakistan.
“It is going to be a violent attack which will cause disruptions,” Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of Mumbai Police told a news conference, releasing the sketch of one of the four suspected terrorists.
“They have recently arrived in Mumbai. We are not in a position to reveal their nationalities now but they are LeT members,” he said.
A US counterterrorism official, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged the possibility LeT might attempt to strike over the holidays.
“There’s no question LeT remains interested in pulling off another large-scale attack in India, and we are alert to the possibility that LeT might again try a holiday attack,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Another attack like the 2008 raid on Mumbai could seriously damage India’s economy, which has so far proved resilient to militant strikes, Indian officials have said.
The four men were named as Abdul Karim Musa, Noor Abul Elahi, Walid Jinnah and Mehfooz Alam.
Earlier this month, a bomb blast in Varanasi killed a child and injured several people.
In February, a powerful blast ripped through a restaurant in Pune, killing 17 people, the first major attack since Mumbai.