13 Feb 2009

Mumbai attack 'partly planned in Pakistan'

9:27 am on 13 February 2009

Pakistan's government has said for the first time that November's attack on Mumbai was launched and partly planned from Pakistan.

Pakistan released the long-awaited results of its investigation on Thursday and said a ringleader and five other suspects were being held, while two other suspects were still at large.

Rehman Malik, adviser to the prime minister on the interior, told a news conference how the gunmen had sailed from Karachi to carry out the attack that killed 179 people in the Indian financial capital between 26 November and 28 November.

Tracing telephone calls and bank transfers had led to the capture of a key figure in the conspiracy, Hammad Amin Sadiq, Mr Malik said.

He added that interrogation of Hammad Amin Sadiq led to the raid on two hideouts, one in the port city, and one two hours outside.

Mr Malik said the breakthrough in the investigation had resulted from tracing the fishing vessel used by the 10 gunmen, purchases of equipment like life jackets and the engine for the rubber dinghy that militants came ashore in in Mumbai.

The Indian foreign ministry issued a statement describing the Pakistani actions as a "positive development".

India has maintained the plot was hatched in Pakistan, and the slow speed with which Islamabad has acted fuelled Indian suspicions that Pakistani intelligence agencies have not cut their old ties with jihadi groups.

In particular, New Delhi has pressed for forceful action by Pakistani authorities against militants belonging to Laskhar-e-Taiba, a jihadi group it says was responsible.