(NSI News Source Info) February 12, 2009: A senior Pakistani official has admitted for the first time that last year's attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai were partly planned in Pakistan. Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said that a number of suspects from the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group had been held and may be prosecuted. At least 173 people were killed in November's attacks. Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik shows evidences to the media during his news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009. Pakistan acknowledged for the first time Thursday that the Mumbai terrorist attacks were launched from its shores and at least partly plotted on its soil. Tensions between between India and Pakistan rose after Delhi said all 10 gunmen were Pakistani. Pakistan denied any responsibility in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, but later admitted that the sole gunman captured alive was one of its citizens. 'Mastermind' On Thursday Mr Malik told a news conference that legal steps had begun against eight suspects which could lead to prosecutions. Mr Malik conceded that a foreign terror plot was hatched in Pakistan "Some part of the conspiracy has taken place in Pakistan. We have lodged an FIR [first information report] into the case," he told a news conference in Islamabad. He said six of the suspects "are now in custody" while two others remain at large. It is not clear when the suspects were arrested - Pakistan said in January that 71 suspects had been detained. Arrests began in early December. "The attackers left from Karachi on a boat hired from Balochistan [province]," Mr Malik said. "An e-mail claiming responsibility for the attack was sent by Zarrar Shah of the Lashkar-e-Taiba." Mr Shah was arrested at a Lashkar camp in December in Pakistani-administered Kashmir by security forces. Another man arrested at the time was Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, described as Lashkar's chief of operations. Mr Malik named Hamad Amin, a Karachi resident currently in Pakistani custody as the mastermind behind the attacks. His remarks follow continuing pressure from the Indian government and the international community over Pakistan's response. India has consistently accused Pakistan of not doing enough to arrest those behind the attacks. The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Islamabad says that this is the first time that the Pakistani authorities have acknowledged the full extent of the charges made by the Indian government. Our correspondent says it also is the first time a serving Pakistan government official has acknowledged that a foreign terror plot was hatched in Pakistan - an admission that could hold serious implications for the country's security establishment. 'State elements' Thursday's remarks by Mr Malik come after two months of rising tensions between India and Pakistan. The Indian government has demanded that Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders be extradited, while Pakistan has insisted any prosecutions would take place on its soil. Delhi has also suggested that what it calls Pakistani "state elements" were involved, something Islamabad has consistently denied. Islamabad also derided the contents of a dossier which Delhi said contained evidence to support its case. Officials said they had also shut several schools run by a charity linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba. Earlier this week Pakistan said it wanted to prosecute suspects in the Mumbai attacks but needed more evidence from India to do so.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Singapore To Join Anti-Piracy Mission: Minister
(NSI News Source Info) SINGAPORE - February 12, 2009: Singapore will send a navy transport ship and two helicopters to support multinational anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden area, the defense minister said Feb. 11. The Endurance class landing platform dock ships are the biggest class of ships in the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). They were designed and built locally by Singapore Technologies (ST) Marine to replace the old County class tank landing ships (LST). The four ships form the 191 Squadron of the RSN. Construction of the Endurance began in early 1997, with the keel laid down at ST Marine's Benoi yard on 27 March 1997. Currently, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) LSTs are RSS Endurance 207, RSS Resolution 208, RSS Persistence 209 and RSS Endeavour 210. Teo Chee Hean told parliament that the Southeast Asian city-state - which has one of Asia's most modern armed forces - will send a landing ship tank (LST) and two Super Puma helicopters. He said they will work with the new international counter-piracy task force, known as CTF-151, operating in and around the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. The minister did not give a date for the Singapore contingent's deployment. On Feb. 10 the U.S. Navy, which currently leads the CTF-151, said it had arrested seven suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden, the first time the task force has apprehended suspected pirates since its formation a month ago. Singapore has also sent LST vessels to waters near Iraq to support coalition forces there. China has already sent naval forces to the Gulf of Aden, and Japan's defense minister said recently his country's navy may be deployed as part of the anti-piracy operations as early as March. Pirates attacked more than 130 merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden last year, an increase of more than 200 percent on 2007, according to the International Maritime Bureau, which tracks piracy and shipping security issues.