ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Security forces overran a militant camp on the outskirts of Pakistani Kashmir’s main city and seized an alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, two officials said Monday.
Backed by a helicopter, the troops grabbed Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi among at least 12 people taken Sunday in the raid on the riverbank camp run by the banned group Laskhar-e-Taiba in Pakistani Kashmir, the officials said. There was a brief gunfight in the camp near Muzaffarabad before the militants were subdued, the officials said.
The officials – one from the intelligence agencies and one from a government agency – spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Indian officials say the sole Mumbai attacker captured alive has told them that Lakhvi recruited him for the mission and that Lakhvi and another militant, Yusuf Muzammil, planned the operation, which left 171 people dead in India’s commercial capital.
The capture of Lakhvi was likely to please India as well as U.S. officials, who allege he also directed Laskhar-e-Taiba operations in Chechnya, Bosnia and Southeast Asia, training members to carry out suicide bombings and attack populated areas. In 2004, he allegedly sent operatives and funds to attack U.S. forces in Iraq.
It was not immediately clear what Pakistan intended to do with Lakhvi.
Pakistan and India do not have an extradition treaty. Last week, President Asif Ali Zardari indicated anyone arrested in Pakistan in connection with the attacks would be tried in Pakistan.