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Bombing suspects identified

Two men are named in the investigation into train bombings. Meanwhile, a man says al-Qaida has set up its first wing in India.

Published July 14, 2006

BOMBAY, India - Indian authorities named two suspects Thursday in this week's train bombings, an apparent breakthrough in the frenetic investigations into the well-coordinated attacks that killed at least 200 people.

The government's Antiterror Squad released photos of young, lightly bearded men identified as Sayyad Zabiuddin and Zulfeqar Fayyaz, said Sunil Mane, an antiterror official.

Officials did not provide their nationalities, and it wasn't clear where the photos - head shots that appeared to have been taken for identification documents - originated.

Officials said earlier Thursday that the prime suspect in Tuesday's bombings is Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group that operates in Kashmir, the Himalayan region at the center of the long-running India-Pakistan conflict.

"Different indicators are there that hint at their involvement," said D.K. Shankaran, the top bureaucrat in Maharashtra state, where Bombay, also called Mumbai, is the capital city. He refused to elaborate, but said seven teams of investigators were sifting through clues.

Lashkar has previously carried out near-simultaneous explosions in Indian cities, including a bombing in New Delhi in October that killed more than 60 people. Lashkar was also named in an attack on India's Parliament in 2001.

A spokesman for Lashkar, Abdullah Ghaznavi, has denied the group was involved in the serial train bombings across Bombay.

Mention of Lashkar, which has been banned in Pakistan but continues to operate through several front names and groups, touched off a diplomatic fracas. Foreign Minister Kurshid Mehmood Kasuri of Pakistan expressed anger at Indian suggestions of Pakistani responsibility.

Also Thursday, a man claiming to represent al-Qaida reportedly said the terror network had set up a wing in Kashmir. It would be the first time Osama bin Laden's network has claimed to have spread to Indian territory.

Kashmir's Current News Service reported that it received a telephone call from a man who identified himself as Abu al-Hadeed, an Arabic name. The man, however, spoke in Urdu, the language of most Muslims on the Indian subcontinent.

Police conducted raids across the city and detained 350 people for questioning, said police Inspector S. Goshal. He said none was formally arrested or charged.


[Last modified July 14, 2006, 02:32:44]

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