India arrests Kashmiri rebel for New Delhi blast

Indian investigators have made their first breakthrough in the investigation into the Oct. 29 New Delhi bombings, linking the attacks to Kashmiri rebel groups, intelligence officials said Wednesday. The army arrested a suspected Kashmiri militant who implicated himself in the bombings, which killed 60 people, during his "sustained interrogation," a senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.

An army spokesman, Col. D.K. Badola, confirmed the arrest of Ghulam Mohammad Mohiudin, but would not give any details.

"We have arrested him and after interrogation he was handed over to the (New) Delhi police," he said.

The suspect told investigators that he had been a member of Hizb-ul Mujahedeen, a militant organization fighting Indian security forces in India's portion of Kashmir, but had recently joined the Pakistani-based Lashkar-e-Tayyaba group, according to the intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of his sensitive position.

Lashkar was widely believed to have been behind the attacks, but denied any involvement, saying it does not target civilians.

A little-known Kashmiri group, Islamic Inquilab Mahaz, claimed responsibility for the attacks. The official said the interrogation was recorded on video, but provided no further details.

The suspect was arrested on Sunday in Jammu-Kashmir state and handed over to New Delhi police on Tuesday night, the official said.

According to The Hindu newspaper, the suspect told interrogators he helped scout the location of one of the blasts and that the attacks, which targeted two crowded markets and a bus, were a combined operation by several Kashmiri rebel groups.

The suspect reportedly said he was recruited because he was familiar with New Delhi. He said he was contacted by three Lashkar operatives, including two Kashmiris, who scouted out crowded markets before hiring an auto-rickshaw and planting the bomb in the Paharganj market, the report said.

The newspaper was vague about whether the suspect accompanied them to Paharganj or only found out about it secondhand.

Islamic rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for independence for the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir from predominantly Hindu India, or its merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan. More than 66,000 people have been killed in the fighting.

India has often accused Pakistan of aiding and arming the militants at training camps on the Pakistani side of Kashmir, a charge Pakistan denies, reports the AP. I.L.

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