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India authorities issue warrants for Mumbai terror attack suspects

India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) [official website] announced [press release, PDF] on Thursday that it has secured INTERPOL [official website] red notices [official backgrounder] for five Pakistani citizens, including two military officials, for their suspected involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] that killed 166. The red notices stem from NIA's investigation into US citizen David Headley, who pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to his role in the attack in a US court in March. The investigation led an Indian court to issue arrest warrants in July, on which the notices are based, for Abdur Rehman Hashim, Sajid Majid, Illyas Kashmiri, and Majors Iqbal and Sameer Ali. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed [Global Jihad profile], head of the fundamentalist terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) [CFR backgrounder], and senior LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi were also subjects of the inquiry, though notices against them have been issued previously.

Last month, the Bombay High Court allowed an appeal by Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab [NDTV profile], the lone gunman to survive the three-day siege. Kasab, who was tried alongside two alleged accomplices of Indian descent that were acquitted on all charges, announced in June that he would appeal his May conviction and death sentence [JURIST reports]. In May, Pakistan's Supreme Court [official website] declined to incarcerate [JURIST report] Saeed, citing insufficient evidence to link him to the Mumbai attacks or al Qaeda [JURIST news archive]. It was feared that the ruling could strain the already fragile relationship between India and Pakistan, which had recently begun peace talks. Pakistan had previously placed Saeed under virtual house arrest [JURIST report] in September 2009, though the Lahore High Court (LHC) [official website] ordered his release [JURIST report] weeks later, also for a lack of evidence.

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