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Pakistan Raids Suspected Militant Camp, Arrests Mumbai Suspect


Security forces in Pakistan have raided a suspected militant camp run by an outlawed Islamic group that India accuses of planning last month's deadly assaults on Mumbai.

Eyewitnesses say Pakistani forces conducted the raid late on Sunday targeting the suspected militant facility near Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

The camp was run by an Islamic charity, Jamat-ud dawa, regarded as a front for the outlawed Lashkar-e-Taiba group that India identified as a prime suspect in the Mumbai attacks.

A VOA reporter in the region, Roshan Mughal, visited the scene and gave details by telephone.

"I saw their military persons standing high alert. They have taken over the camp and they are searching every local who is residing near the camp," said Mughal. "And people in the area, they were telling [us] that they heard explosions [and] after that they saw the rooftops of this camp just shattered in the air. They also saw military vehicles moving around in the area carrying the people who were arrested from this camp."

Alleged planner of Mumbai attacks detained in raid

Pakistani officials have not publicly commented but news reports quote an official as saying one of the alleged planners of the Mumbai attacks was among those detained in the raid. The man is identified as Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, who is accused of giving orders by telephone to the gunmen for carrying out the bloodshed in the Indian financial capital.

India's allegations that the attackers have links inside Pakistan have increased tensions between the two rival nations. Pakistani leaders have repeatedly asked for proof and have promised to cooperate with India in the investigation to bring the militants to justice.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Monday chaired the first ever meeting of his cabinet's defense committee to discuss rising tensions with India in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Pakistan to cooperate with India despite rising tensions

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Federal Information Minister Sherry Rehman says the meeting reiterated Pakistan's resolve not to allow its soil to be used for terrorist activity against any country.

"The Committee decided to renew the offer of full cooperation with India, including intelligence sharing and assistance in investigation as well as setting up of a joint investigative commission," Rehman said. "The Committee was of the view that the security and stability of South Asia is in the fundamental interests of the people of this region. It is therefore imperative to proactively defuse the prevailing tensions."

The United States also has increased diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to fully cooperate with India to bring the plotters of the Mumbai assault to justice. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told at least two American television networks this week that, as she put it, there is no doubt that Pakistani territory was used by "non-state actors" to launch the Mumbai bloodshed. However, she reiterated that there is no evidence linking the state of Pakistan to the terrorist attacks that killed more than 170 people.



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