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Officials: Indian helped Pakistan hide gunmen

The Pakistani-based militant group blamed for the Mumbai attacks kept an Indian militant as a "point man" to shepherd gunmen across India's porous borders to stage attacks, police said Wednesday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Pakistani-based militant group blamed for the Mumbai attacks kept an Indian militant as a "point man" to shepherd gunmen across India's porous borders to stage attacks, police said Wednesday.

Sabauddin Ahmed, accused of managing militant safe houses in Nepal, was being brought to Mumbai for questioning in last month's attacks that left 171 dead. Ahmed was arrested in February following a deadly raid on an Indian police station.

Ahmed's position in Nepal extends the reach of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group investigators blame for the Mumbai siege, and could represent another blow to Indian officials who say Pakistan-based militants were entirely responsible.

"He was their main point man in Katmandu, a very trusted man by Lashkar," said Amitabh Yash, director of the police's Special Task Force in Uttar Pradesh, which arrested him.

Sanctions announcedA U.N. Security Council panel, meanwhile, designated four men believed to hold leadership positions in Lashkar-e-Taiba as terrorists subject to sanctions.

The four men are: Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Lashkar's operations chief; Muhammad Saeed, the group's leader; Haji Muhammad Ashraf, its chief of finance; and Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq, a financier with the group.

The Security Council's al-Qaida and Taliban sanctions committee added them Wednesday to its list of terrorists subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo under a council resolution adopted this year.

Indian police said it was too early to determine whether Ahmed was involved in the Mumbai siege, but he was arrested along with another Indian militant who was found with a map highlighting Mumbai targets. Police say the operative, Faheem Ansari, had been preparing for the attacks since 2007.

Ahmed told interrogators he had contacts with several officials from Pakistan's spy service, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Yash said.

"He named a lot of ISI officers," Yash said.

Islamabad's civilian government has denied its state agencies were involved in the Mumbai attacks, but said it was possible that the militants were Pakistanis. It has pledged to cooperate with India.

Links to charity
Rakesh Maria, Mumbai's chief police investigator, said Wednesday that further evidence of links between the Pakistan-based Islamic charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Lashkar has emerged. He said the head of the charity gave a motivational speech to the 10 gunmen who attacked Mumbai at the end of their training.

At the prompting of India and the U.S., the Security Council late Wednesday declared Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which runs schools and medical clinics in Pakistan, a terrorist group subject to U.N. sanctions, including an asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.

Washington says the charity is a front for the banned terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, blamed by India for the terrorist attack last month that killed 171 people in its commercial capital, and New Delhi has insisted on concrete evidence that Pakistan is quelling such groups.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa — which sprang up after Pakistan banned Lashkar in 2002 following U.S. pressure — runs a chain of schools and medical clinics throughout the country and has helped survivors of two deadly earthquakes in recent years. It denies any links to Lashkar.

The 10 gunmen were trained principally by three senior Lashkar leaders, including Lakhvi, the reputed mastermind of the siege, said Maria.

Officials have said Lakhvi was arrested Sunday in a raid on a militant camp close to the Indian border. Another senior leader, Zarar Shah, was also in Pakistani custody, officials said.

Notorious Indian gangster
In Russia, meanwhile, the head of that country's federal anti-narcotics agency said a notorious Indian gangster, Dawood Ibrahim, helped in the attack.

Ibrahim "provided his logistics network for the preparation and implementation of the attacks," the government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta quoted Viktor Ivanov as saying.

India has said Ibrahim fled to Pakistan after staging a series of bombings in Mumbai, then known as Bobay, in 1993.

As is often the case when Russian law enforcement officials talk about terrorism, Ivanov gave no details and provided no actual evidence.

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