Paper claims Pakistan finds Mumbai attacker's link
Pakistani investigators have unearthed links between the gunmen who attacked Mumbai in November.
Pakistani investigators have unearthed links between the gunmen who attacked Mumbai in November and a banned Pakistani Islamist militant group, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The group was set up by Pakistani security agencies in the late 1980s to fight Indian rule in the disputed Kashmir region but was banned in 2002, after Pakistan had signed up to the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism.
The Wall Street Journal said in an online report on Wednesday at least one top LeT leader, Zarar Shah, captured in a raid early this month in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, had confessed to the group's involvement in the attack.
"He is singing," an unidentified Pakistani security official told the newspaper, referring to Shah.
Pakistan has condemned the Mumbai attacks and has denied any state role, blaming "non-state actors".
Pakistani government spokesmen were not immediately available for comment on the report.
Shah's admission was backed up by U.S. intercepts of a telephone call between Shah and one of the attackers during the assault, the Pakistani security official told the newspaper.
Shah told interrogators that he was one of the main planners of the assault and he had spoken to the attackers during the rampage to give them advice and keep them focused, the newspaper cited a second person familiar with the investigation as saying.
Shah had implicated other LeT members, and had broadly confirmed the account the sole captured gunman told Indian investigators, the second person told the newspaper.
According to Indian reports, the captured gunman told Indian interrogators the 10 attackers trained in Pakistani Kashmir and later went by boat from Karachi to Mumbai.
Pakistani authorities did not have evidence that the LeT was involved in the attacks before the gunmen were arrested in Kashmir, the security official told the newspaper.
Their arrest was based only on initial guidance from U.S and British authorities, the newspaper cited the official as saying.
Pakistan has repeatedly said India has not provided evidence.
After the Mumbai attacks, India put a "pause" on a five-year-old peace process that had brought warmer ties although it had failed to make progress on their core dispute over the Muslim-majority Kashmir region.
Reuters Last Mod: 31 Aralık 2008, 14:01