As Austrian prosecutors probe Pakistani national Muhammad Ghani Usman’s alleged links to recent attacks in Paris and the 2008 assault in Mumbai, officials here have said at least three fugitives with similar names are wanted by Pakistani authorities in connection with the 2008 assault.
“We are gathering more details about Muhammad Ghani Usman who has been picked up in Austria’s Salzburg on the charges of being involved in an IS-linked terror plot in Europe,” said an Indian central counter-terror official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Usman, 34, has been described by sources close to a multinational investigation as a terrorist linked to the Mumbai attacks who had joined the Islamic State’s to commit atrocities in Europe. Investigators said they suspected Usman was a bomb maker for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).
He was arrested in the western Austrian city of Salzburg in December and Islamabad has not yet responded to Vienna’s request for information on him, according to media reports.
The website of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) lists two fugitives named Muhammad Usman and one named Muhammad Usman Zia who are wanted in connection with the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. All three are members of the LeT.
The two men named Muhammad Usman are aged 34, according to their year of birth on their national ID cards. They belong to Punjab province and were members of the crew of the boats Al Hussaini and Al Fouz, which were used by the 10 terrorists involved in the assault on India’s financial hub.
Muhammad Usman Zia, whose date of birth is not listed in the FIA website, is wanted for financing the attacks.
Pakistan arrested seven men, including LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, after the Mumbai attacks and put them on trial for allegedly planning, financing and executing the assault.
The Pakistani man arrested in Austria arrived in Europe with two terrorists who blew themselves up outside Stade de France during the Paris attacks in November that killed 130 people.
Muhammad Ghani Usman travelled to Europe by posing as a refugee. He was arrested in Greece after police found out his passport was among a batch stolen by the Islamic State but he was later released.