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Spain: 8 men linked to 26/11 attacks arrested

Last updated on: December 01, 2010 16:10 IST

Spain has arrested 8 persons believed to be operatives of the Al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

Even as the Spanish media reports that these men were involved in forging documents, sources in the Indian agencies point out that it cannot be concluded immediately that these men are linked to the 26/11 attack.

Out of the eight men who have been arrested, 7 are Pakistanis while one is believed to be from North Africa.

These men are originally part of the Thailand base of the Lashkar and the Al-Qaeda, and their specific role was to steal passports and forge documents in order to facilitate terror attacks.

The Indian agencies, however, say that they will need to wait and watch until more details emerge. They also add that during the entire investigation of the 26/11 case, they have not been able to zero down on the men who provided the documents to the ten terrorists who carried out the attacks in Mumbai.

A similar scenario had emerged last year too when some persons were picked up in Italy.

The Indian agencies had verified the information at that time too, but it turned out that they were in no way connected to the 26/11 attack.

During the first phase of the investigation, it was said that the documents provided to the ten terrorists were printed from Bangalore and Hyderabad. However, agencies were not able to zero down on that fact.

Indian agencies view these arrests with keen interest due to the links these arrested men have to the Thailand module. Interestingly, the Thailand module is one of the stronger modules of the Lashkar and with the help of the Dawood gang, the Lashkar had managed to set up their own route, which originally was used by the D Gang for smuggling.

Intelligence Bureau officials point out that over a period of time, they came to realise that hardly any operation was carried out in India for the 26/11 attack and almost every aspect of the planning was outsourced -- right from conducting the survey to preparing the documents.

The Lashkar was aware of the fact that the more they stayed out of India during the planning stages, the better it would be in order to ensure a fool proof operation.

Indian agencies will now look at this new emerging angle and would get in touch with their counterparts in Spain and elicit more details.

Vicky Nanjappa