In unconfirmed raid, Pakistan seizes Mumbai attack ringleader
Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, an operations chief for Lashkar-e-Taiba, was reportedly captured Monday in Pakistani Kashmir.
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Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, was also a founder of LeT and has operated under several aliases as the group's supreme operational commander. US officials said that he had directed the group's operations in Kashmir, Chechnya, Bosnia and Iraq.
Also known as Abdullah Azam, he comes from Okara district in Pakistan's central province of Punjab, which is also where Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only militant captured in the Mumbai attacks, was born and raised.
Indian investigators say Kasab has identified Lakhvi as one of his LeT contacts and admitted to undergoing training at several militant camps in Pakistan, including one near Muzaffarabad.
Local residents, however, said they had seen army personnel taking control of the area along Shawai Nullah, some five kilometers northwest of Muzaffarabad, where the organization possesses a large plot of land on which several buildings had been built....
"I saw an army helicopter hovering over the area and around 5pm I heard two or three loud explosions," a woman who lives in the area told Dawn on phone.
The Los Angeles Times said that because the three-day, major Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, began today, the Pakistani government may have wanted to take action before the holiday virtually shuts down the country.
The newspaper also struck a note of caution, saying that most of LeT's training camps are actually thought to be on the other side of Pakistan, near its western border with Afghanistan.
It was unclear, though, whether Sunday's reported raid was mainly a symbolic slap or meant to be a genuine blow to the group's infrastructure. Most of Lashkar-e-Taiba's training centers are believed to be in Pakistan's tribal areas along the Afghan border.