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US intelligence chief blames LeT for Mumbai attacks

December 03, 2008 17:49 IST

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Reinforcing India's assertion that the Mumbai terror attacks [Images] had Pakistani links, the United States intelligence chief has pointed his finger at the banned militant outfit Lashkar-e Toiba over the deadly strikes.

US National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell's remarks, in an address to the Harvard University on Tuesday night, came hours after India announced that it had demanded the handing over of LeT chief Hafiz Mohammad and other fugitives in Pakistan in the wake of Mumbai attacks that killed 183 people, including six Americans.

"The same group that we believe is responsible for Mumbai had a similar attack in 2006 on a train and killed a similar number of people," McConnell said. "Go back to 2001
and it was an attack on the (Indian) Parliament."

McConnell did not identify the group by name but New Delhi [Images] has pinned the 2006 attacks on Mumbai commuter trains to the LeT, a Pakistan-based terrorist group. The 2001 attack on Indian Parliament, which pushed India and Pakistan on the brink of war, was also blamed on the LeT apart from Jaish-e Muhammad, another Pakistan-based militant outfit.

McConnell is the first US official to publicly identify LeT as the likely group behind the latest Mumbai attacks, for even as late as Tuesday night, the State Department and Pentagon would not get into what they believed was a speculation game, with attributions to unnamed sources and officials.

But since the time of the attacks, counter-terrorism specialists have been of the view that one of the most likely 'candidates' for the Mumbai strikes was the LeT.

The LeT is banned the US since 2001.

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