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India Seeks Extradition of US Suspect In Mumbai Terror Attack

India is seeking to extradite a U.S. citizen who has pleaded guilty to helping plan the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. The Indian government wants to question him about the attacks, which killed 166 people, including six Americans.

Indian authorities have been closely following the trial of David Headley, the U.S. citizen who has admitted he scouted for targets for terror strikes in Mumbai in October 2008.

Headley has also admitted to plotting to attack a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that angered many Muslims.

Headley initially denied the charges, but changed his plea to guilty in a Chicago court Thursday to avoid the death penalty, or extradition to India, Pakistan or Denmark.

However, Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram says India will continue to press for his extradition.

"Since he was apprehended in the US, I always knew there will be a problem about extradition. We have not given up our plea for extradition. We will continue to maintain our plea for extradition," he said.

Headley made five surveillance trips to Mumbai between 2006 and 2008. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has said he took pictures and made videotapes of various targets, including those attacked in 2008. He passed on the information to Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan based Islamic group charged with carrying out the Mumbai attacks.

The 12 counts to which Headley has pleaded guilty include conspiring to bomb public places in India, to murder and maim people in India and Denmark, and provide material support to foreign terrorist plots and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Minister Chidambaram says that India will charge Headley "at the appropriate time."

U.S. authorities have so far not given India the right to question Headley, although they have shared information with Indian authorities.

However Chidambaram hopes Indian interrogators will get access to Headley once he has been sentenced in the United States.

"To many of the questions that Indian authorities wanted, we have got answers. But there are many more questions that we want to ask, and much more information that we wish to get, and I will continue to press for access to Headley, in the sense that he will testify in a proceeding or subject himself to interrogation," said Chidambaram.

Headley's father was a Pakistani diplomat and his mother an American, and he spent much of his childhood in Islamabad. U.S. authorities say he is providing valuable information about terrorist activities.