NEW DELHI - Indian police have arrested a key suspect accused of coordinating the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which 166 people were killed and more than 300 wounded, the government said Monday.
Abu Hamza, also known as Sayed Zabiuddin, an Indian-born member of the Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Taiba, was detained at Delhi international airport on June 21 when he arrived from the Middle East.
Hamza was allegedly one of the handlers based in Karachi, who issued instructions by telephone to the 10 gunmen as they stormed two luxury hotels, a Jewish centre, a restaurant and a train station in Mumbai.
“The Delhi police have done a magnificent job. I am sure that the investigations will take place and we will wait till the investigations,” India’s External Affairs Minister SM Krishna told reporters. Hamza, who has used a string of aliases, had been living in Saudi Arabia in recent years and is now being held in police custody in Delhi, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. Indian media citing police sources said that Hamza was aged 30 and came from the western state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital.
M Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only gunman caught alive during the 60-hour assault on Mumbai in Nov 2008, was handed down a death sentence by the Bombay High Court last year. Lawyers prosecuting Kasab have said that Hamza taught the gunmen some Hindi and that his voice can be heard on taped conversations with the attackers during the carnage. India blames the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is banned in Pakistan, for training, equipping and financing the Mumbai gunmen.
Pakistan has indicted seven alleged perpetrators over the attacks but their trial, which began in 2009, has been beset by numerous delays.