US Welcomes Arrest of Mumbai Terror Suspect, Approves Headley Access

Leopold Cafe, one of the scenes of Mumbai attacks

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Washington – The United States on Tuesday welcomed the reports of the arrest of a key planner of the November 26, 2008 (26/11) Mumbai terror attack that left 166 dead, while reiterating Washington’s support of Delhi to bring its perpetrators to book.

Replying to a question at the daily press briefing, Victoria Nuland, the US State Department Spokesperson said, “We obviously have long supported and called for the arrest and prosecution and conviction of all of those responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, because we lost six of our own.”

Earlier on Monday, Nuland told journalists, “We are aware of these reports that one of the suspected planners of the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai has been arrested.”

“We have a strong interest, as we’ve said, since the day of the attack, in the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of all those responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attack, because our own citizens were among the victims,” she said, adding, “So we want to see all of them brought to justice.”

Queried about the US role in the reported high-profile arrest, Nuland denied knowledge of any further details, saying, “As you know, we have been doing what we can to share information and support of the Indian efforts to bring folks to justice.” Indian media reports have identified the suspect, known previously by his aliases Abu Hamza and Abu Jundal, as Sayeed Zabiudeen Ansari of Maharashtra.

On the related subject of a request during his recent visit to the US by Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna for additional Indian access to Pakistani American David Coleman Headley, who played a key role in the Mumbai attacks, Nuland said: “We have routinely provided access to David Headley when asked, and we will continue to make him available as appropriate.”

The Mumbai attacks were carried out by 10 members of the Pakistan-based terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba, with the alleged support of the Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI, and took the lives of foreign nationals, including six US citizens and dozens of Indians in the three-day rampage, which included attacks on two luxury hotels, a Jewish center, a restaurant, and a train station. (IATNS)

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