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US to pursue 26/11 case against LeT men, ISI Major

By Lalit K Jha
January 18, 2013 13:11 IST
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The United States on Friday said it would continue its hunt for dreaded terrorist Illyas Kashmiri, Lashkar-e-Tayiba handler Sajid Mir and four others involved in the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

The six are named in the indictment in the case in a Chicago court, which is hearing charges against Tahawwur Rana and David Headley. Rana was on Thursday sentenced to 14 years in jail for providing material support to Pakistan-based LeT and for backing a plot to attack a Danish newspaper.

He was also sentenced to five years of supervision by authorities after his release. The court is likely to sentence Headley, the accused in plotting of the Mumbai attacks, on January 24.

US prosecutors have named the six individuals -- Illyas Kashmiri, Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed alias Pasha, Sajid Mir, Abu Qahafa, Mazhar Iqbal, and Major Iqbal -- as involved in the conspiracy and declared them fugitive.

Kashmiri, according to media reports, is reported to have been killed in US drone attacks.

"They are fugitives. They remain at large. So the case is still pending. If they were ever to be brought within the jurisdiction of the United States, they would be subject to prosecution," said a US Justice Department official.

"Of course you know, there are reports that Kashmiri was killed. So the remaining five would still be considered fugitives," said the official, speaking in condition of anonymity.

Normally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under its mandate, seeks extradition of individuals responsible for the killing of American nationals.

But the official did not comment on any question related to extradition, except for saying that the US is committed to bring to justice those who were responsible for the killing of its nationals.

"I can't comment on extradition," he said.

According to the indictment filed by the FBI in the Chicago court on April 21, 2011, Sajid Mir is a resident of Pakistan and is associated with the LeT.

He supervised and served as a handler for Headley and others, who were directed to carry out actions relating to planning, preparing for, and carrying out terrorist attack on behalf of the outfit.

Abu Qahafa, a resident of Pakistan, is associated with the LeT. He trained others in combat techniques for use in terrorist attacks.

Mazhar Iqbal, also a resident of Pakistan, was a LeT commander.

Major Iqbal participated in planning and funding attacks carried out by the LeT.

According to ProPublica, Major Iqbal is a serving Inter Services Intelligence official and handler for Headley. This is the first time the US government has charged a serving Pakistani intelligence officer with terrorism.

"Major Iqbal is charged with the murders of six US citizens who died in Mumbai. Pakistan has refused repeated US requests to arrest him," it said.

"Major Iqbal remains a serving officer in the ISI, and accused masterminds, including Sajid Mir, whose voice was caught on telephone intercepts as he directed the slaughter in Mumbai, continue to run the terrorist group, according to Western and Indian counter-terror officials," ProPublica said.

As per court papers, Kashmiri was indicted on two counts, for "conspiracy to murder and maim in Denmark" and "conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism in Denmark.

Abdur Rehman Hashim Sayed has also been indicted on two counts, while Sajid Mir has been indicted on all 12 counts, Abu Qahafa (10 counts), Mazhar Iqbal (10 counts) and Major Iqbal on eight counts.

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Lalit K Jha
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