Pakistani police have arrested the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks which killed six Jews including a rabbi and his pregnant wife.
Hafiz Saeed is the founder of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Pure) and has long been wanted for planning the four-day assault on the city, which left at least 174 people dead and more than 300 injured.
Ten highly-trained militants carried out 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across the city in November 2008. Among the targets was a Jewish outreach centre based at Nariman House, which has since been renamed Chabad House.
Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg bought the five-storey building in 2006 and set up an educational centre, synagogue, drug prevention service and hostel. It mainly catered to Israeli travellers headed for Goa and Rajasthan.
The couple were among eight Israelis taken hostage during the attacks. After several hours of aborted negotiations, Indian commandos stormed the building in the early hours.
The couple were among six killed. Rivka had been six months pregnant. Their two-year son Moshe was saved by the couple’s Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel, who now lives in Israel, after being granted honourary citizenship.
Others killed included Bentzion Kruman from Israel, Leibish Teitelbaum from Brooklyn, Yoheved Orpaz from Israel and Norma Rabinovich from Mexico.
Lashkar-e-Taiba (L-e-T) is a powerful force in Pakistan. It runs hundreds of religious seminaries as well as schools, hospitals, publishers and even an ambulance service.
Defence analysts say its operations are so sophisticated that help from Pakistan’s armed forces and intelligence services is almost inevitable. L-e-T is alleged to have attacked India’s parliament in 2001 and killed 40 Indian policemen in a raid earlier this year.
Commentators were suspicious of the timing of Saeed’s arrest, coming just days before Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was due to fly to Washington, D.C. The United States has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to Saeed’s arrest.
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