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India hangs only surviving gunman of 2008 Mumbai attacks

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The Pakistan militant group accused of killing 166 people in a 2008 gun rampage in Mumbai has warned of future attacks, Reuters reported, after India secretly executed the only surviving man responsible.

Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, 25, a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, was hanged at the Yerawada Prison in in Pune, southeast of Mumbai, at 7:30 a.m. local time Wednesday (9 p.m. ET Tuesday) -- hours after India's President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his legal appeal.

The Pakistani national was the only suspect to be captured alive after Nov. 26, 2008 atrocity -- locally dubbed "26/11" -- in which 10 militants embarked on a 60-hour killing spree that engulfed cafes and luxury hotels including the landmark Taj Mahal Palace.

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Pictures of the young gunman wearing a black T-shirt and toting an AK-47 rifle as he strode through Mumbai's train station were published around the world -- helping to secure his eventual conviction and death sentence in August.

Kasab was buried inside the prison where he was hanged, officials said. India said it would hand over the body to Pakistan if a request was made, underlying the sensitivities and severely strained relations between the two nations.

Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based group seeking the propagation of Islam around the region and an end to Indian rule of Kashmir, is blamed by India for the planning the attacksKasab confessed to being a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, according to Pakistan news site Dawn, but the organization was never conclusively linked to the crime. Pakistan also denies any official involvement.

Reuters said it spoke on the telephone Wednesday to one the group’s senior commanders, who said Kasab was a "hero" whose death would "inspire other fighters to follow his path."

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The Pakistan Taliban said it was shocked by the hanging.  

"There is no doubt that it's very shocking news and a big loss that a Muslim has been hanged on Indian soil," Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan told Reuters.

However, there were celebrations in India.

"When I heard the news of Kasab's execution today, I remembered those horrifying moments of the attack," said Vishnu Zende, who was working at Mumbai's train station on the day of the attack. "My eyes were filled with tears."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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