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Pakistani troops seize camp with possible ties to attack

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistani troops seized a camp used by the extremist group blamed in the Mumbai attacks and arrested more than 12 people, two militants said Monday.

The raid was the first known action by Islamabad in response to the attacks, which Indian officials say were carried out and plotted by Pakistani militants belonging to the banned Laskhar-e-Taiba.

Troops briefly exchanged fire with people at the camp during Sunday's raid close to the town of Muzaffarabad, in the Pakistani part of the disputed Kashmir region, the militants said.

Pakistan authorities were not available for comment.

The militants say the camp was used until 2004 by Laskhar-e-Taiba to train recruits to fight Indian rule in its section of the Kashmir. More recently, it was used by Lashkar's parent organization, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, for education and charity work, they say.

The militants spoke on condition of anonymity because they belong to an illegal organization.

Pakistan is under intense pressure to crack down on the masterminds who trained the gunmen and plotted the siege on India's financial capital last month, killing 171 people.

It has said it is prepared to cooperate with India if authorities prove the attacks came from Pakistani soil. It has denied any of its state agencies were involved, a stance supported by the United States.

It was unclear whether Sunday's raid was mainly a symbolic slap or meant to be a genuine blow to the group's infrastructure. Many of Lashkar-e-Taiba's training centers are thought to be in Pakistan's tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

Indian investigators, supported by Western intelligence, believe Pakistan was used as a staging ground for the attacks. The sole captured gunman is a Pakistani, and the assailants were in touch by cell phone with handlers in Pakistan during the 60-hour siege, India says.

It had been thought that any Pakistani government action against the militants would most likely take place before today's start of the major Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Eid al-Adha formally lasts three days but will basically shut down the country — and much of the Muslim world — this week.

Information from the Los Angeles Times was used in this report.

Pakistani troops seize camp with possible ties to attack 12/07/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:46pm]
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