02/12/2009, 00.00
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Islamabad admits for the first time that Mumbai attacks were planned in Pakistan

Pakistan's interior minister says that part of the planning for the attacks was done by Pakistani citizens, together with members of the extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. Six suspects in custody, connections to Spain and Italy.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Pakistani interior minister Rehman Malik admitted today, for the first time, that "some part of the conspiracy related to the [November 26] Mumbai attacks was planned in Pakistan." At least 6 people believed to be involved have been arrested, and 2 more are being sought, but the investigation is ongoing and further developments are not ruled out.

It is said that some of the conspirators could be members of the outlawed extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, including Zia-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Zarrar Shah, who sent "an e-mail claiming responsibility for the attack." Shah has been in jail since December.

Those under arrest also include Hamad Amin Sadiq, considered the "main architect" of the plot, who arranged the transfer of money used for the attacks, and Javed Iqbal, an expert in internet technology living in Barcelona. The money came from Spain and Italy, and SIM telephone cards from Austria and India were used. Also in jail is the person who sold the boat engine used by the attackers to reach Mumbai by sea.

India immediately accused Pakistani extremists for the attacks, which caused 183 deaths. This has produced significant tension, partly because Pakistan initially denied any responsibility. There is also disagreement between the two countries because India is asking for the extradition of those who may be responsible, while Pakistan is saying that it intends to try them on its own soil.

There is no official comment yet from India, whose ambassador in Islamabad replied that he has not yet received "the official report" from the Pakistani government.

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