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Pakistan Targets Mumbai Attacks Planners

Pakistan's military has launched an operation targeting militant groups linked to last month's deadly terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

A military statement Monday confirmed security forces had also made arrests, following rising tensions with India.  Pakistan also proposed sending a high-level delegation to New Delhi "as soon as possible" to help with the ongoing investigation.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari telephoned Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today to inform her of the operations.  McCormack said Pakistan is making what he called "positive steps" to help find those responsible for the attacks.

It was not immediately clear if the operations detailed in today's military statement include a raid late Sunday on a suspected militant camp near Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. 

Witnesses say Pakistani forces carried out the raid on a camp run by an outlawed organization that India blames for the Mumbai attacks.

A VOA reporter, Roshan Mughal, visited the scene and says witnesses described hearing explosions as security forces searched and arrested people at the camp.

News reports today quote Pakistani intelligence officials as saying the forces detained, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, one of the alleged planners of the Mumbai attacks during the raid.  The camp was run by an Islamic charity Jamat-ud-dawah regarded as a front for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group. 

Meanwhile, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani convened the first-ever meeting of his cabinet's defense chiefs today to discuss rising tensions with India. 

Federal Information Minister Sherry Rehman says officials at the meeting repeated Pakistan's resolve not to allow its soil to be used for terrorist activity.

Islamabad denies any involvement in the three-day assault on Mumbai that began November 26. 

More than 170 people were killed and at least 300 others wounded during the siege.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.


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