LeT leaders masterminded Mumbai attacks: official

LeT leaders masterminded Mumbai attacks: official

Mumbai: India suspects two senior leaders of a banned Pakistani militant group orchestrated the three-day siege of the country’s financial capital that killed at least 171 people, Indian officials said on Thursday.

Evidence collected in the investigation pointed to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Yusuf Muzammil as masterminds behind the bloody rampage in Mumbai, according to two government officials familiar with the matter.

Lakhvi and Muzammil are top members of the outlawed Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba , which India blames in attacks and are believed to be living in Pakistan, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Lakhvi has been identified as the group’s chief of operations and Muzammil as its operations chief in Kashmir and other parts of India.

The revelations came as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Pakistan on Thursday for meetings with civilian and military leaders after visiting Indian leaders in New Delhi. She aimed to raise pressure on Pakistan’s government to help get to the bottom of the terror attacks, saying that Pakistan must mount a “robust response" to bring the terrorists to justice.

Indian airports, meanwhile, were put on high alert after the government received warnings of possible airborne attacks.

Last week’s attacks were carried out by 10 suspected Muslim militants against hotels, a restaurant and other sites across Mumbai.

In a stunning new example of the botched security that has sparked public outrage since the assault, police on Wednesday found two bombs at Mumbai’s main train station nearly a week after they were left there by gunmen behind the attacks.

While searching through about 150 bags, which police believed were left by the dozens of victims in the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station, an officer found a suspicious-looking bag and called the bomb squad, said Assistant Commissioner of Police Bapu Domre. Inside were two 4 kilogram bombs, which were taken away and safely detonated, he said.

Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday adopted a more strident tone against longtime rival Pakistan.

At a candlelight gathering in Mumbai, many chanted anti-Pakistan slogans and called for war.