India Shooting
Rajesh Kumar Singh  /  AP
People walking in procession in Allahabad, India, on Tuesday pay tribute to those killed in recent terror attacks in Mumbai.
updated 12/9/2008 4:18:50 PM ET 2008-12-09T21:18:50

India police on Tuesday released the names of nine suspected Islamic militants killed during their attack on Mumbai, saying all of them came from Pakistan.

At a briefing, chief police investigator Rakesh Maria also showed photographs of eight of the men — some taken from identity cards, while others were gruesome shots of the dead attackers.

No photo was released for one of the men because he was too badly burned, Maria said.

Maria also gave details of the districts and towns in Pakistan from where the gunmen are believed to have come. He did not say how police had tracked down their hometowns, although they have been interrogating the lone surviving gunman.

Most of the attackers came from Pakistan's Punjab province, and all were between the ages of 20 and 28, according to police.

India has blamed the Pakistani-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba for the attacks that began Nov. 26 and left 171 people dead in India's financial center. It has demanded that Pakistan take action.

Pakistan has intensified its crackdown on the militant group by arresting 20 more people but said Tuesday it will not hand over any of its citizens to India.

Reputed ringleader
Maria said the leader of the group was Ismail Khan, 25, from Dera Ismail Khan, a city in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, whom he called a veteran of other Lashkar attacks. He did not provide details. Khan allegedly led the assault on Mumbai's busy railway station.

Police only had first names and aliases for some of the gunmen. Maria said the men had been introduced to each other by their aliases, but during the operation had told each other their real names.

The youngest attacker was identified as 20-year-old Shoaib, alias Soheb, who came from Narowal district in Pakistan's Punjab province. He was among those who attacked the Taj Mahal hotel, Maria said.

Two attackers came from the central Pakistani city of Multan, Maria said.

Some of the photographs were taken from identity documents found on the dead gunmen, while others were pictures taken of the bodies. Some had charred faces, while others were swollen and battered.

There have been signs the attackers may have had help from within India. Maria said police were bringing a man, identified only as Sabauddin, to Mumbai for questioning along with an Indian national, Faheem Ansari.

Sabauddin was arrested in north India with Ansari in February. Ansari was carrying hand-drawn sketches of hotels, the train terminal and other sites in Mumbai that were later attacked. The two have been in an Indian jail since then.

Maria gave no other information on Sabauddin, including his nationality.

Also Tuesday, Maria said the lone surviving gunman, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, had asked to be allowed to write a letter to his father in which he expressed regret for carrying out the attacks.

In the letter, written in Urdu, Kasab said "he has been misled by these people," Maria said, apparently referring to those who recruited him. "Youngsters in the village should be told not to believe in this indoctrination," Maria said, reading from a copy of the letter.

Jewish center, hotel vow to reopen
The new head of a Jewish center in Mumbai vowed Tuesday to restore the facility, which was devastated when the gunmen rampaged through it. The owners of the iconic Taj Mahal hotel, meanwhile, pledged to reopen with an interfaith ceremony.

Chabad house, the Jewish center, was one of several places captured by suspected Islamic gunmen in the Nov. 26-29 attacks. A commando assault ended the two-day siege of the center, but six people inside the building — all Jewish foreigners — were killed.

"We are staying at the same center and will rebuild it even nicer than it was," said Rabbi Dov Goldberg, an Israeli who was sent by the ultra-Orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch movement, which ran the house.

Rabbi, wife killed in attack
Among those killed in the attack was American-Israeli Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka.

Goldberg said that while it was very difficult for him to replace Holtzberg, whom he had worked under for a while in India, he was determined to carry out his mission.

"We will try and open it as soon as possible," Goldberg told The Associated Press. "Meanwhile, we will have it in a temporary place. Our activities will not stop even for one second."

The building served as a spiritual oasis for Mumbai's small Jewish community, traveling Jewish backpackers and visiting businessmen, providing a synagogue and kosher food.

Goldberg said the center, which was ravaged by dozens of explosions during the commando assault, would be refurbished and that it would have more security. "We will do all that's necessary for security and for safety," he said.

Goldberg was sent from New York, where the movement has its headquarters, together with his wife and daughter, he said.

The Holtzbergs' 2-year-old son, Moshe, survived the attack after being whisked out the building by his nanny and another worker.

Interfaith rebirth
The owners of the Taj, scene of much of the bloodshed, planned an interfaith prayer ceremony to rededicate the building, although it was far from clear how long it would take to rebuild the 105-year-old structure.

In a statement, the hotel said it hoped "the hotel will shine again in tribute to the people who fell during the terrorist attacks" after the eventual rededication ceremony — performed by Parsi, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist and Jewish religious leaders.

The historic hotel suffered extensive damage during the siege, frequently catching fire as the gunmen and commandos battled it out. The place was riddled with bullets and dozens of grenades were thrown in the building.

A fire broke out at the hotel early Tuesday, likely caused by a short circuit, but no additional damage was done, the hotel said in a statement.

More on: Lashkar-e-Taiba | Taj Mahal Hotel

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