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Lahore attack: Pak identifies 'little-known' mastermind
Rezaul H Laskar in Lahore | March 09, 2009 16:39 IST
A little-known militant Muhammad Aqil has been identified by the Pakistani security agencies as the mastermind of the audacious attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore, but raids across the city to nab him proved futile on Monday as he managed to escape.
The security agencies conducted raids at several places after identifying Aqil, who has links to a banned militant group. However, the name of the group was not revealed.
Though Aqil, who hails from Kahuta, managed to escape, his accomplice Talat was captured, Geo News channel quoted sources as saying.
Talat and Aqil had been living in a flat near the Liberty traffic roundabout in Lahore [Images], where the Sri Lankan team was attacked on March 3 by a dozen gunmen who ambushed its luxury bus, leaving seven players and an assistant coach injured and eight people dead.
Talat purchased a mobile phone SIM that was used by the terrorists involved in the attack, the channel reported. Aqil masterminded the attack and was also in-charge of its execution, it added.
The Pakistani police have detained nearly 100 people for questioning. None of the 12 terrorists responsible for the attack have been arrested so far. Police have also described at least five of the persons detained by them as "facilitators" of the terrorists who carried out the attack.
Mobile phones discarded by the terrorists have been crucial in tracing suspects, officials have said. Preliminary investigations have also suggested that the attack could have been carried out by a group of operatives of the banned Lashker-e-Tayiba to avenge the arrest of their operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi in the wake of the Mumbai [Images] attacks.