Lashkar denies link with Chicago suspects | india | Hindustan Times
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Lashkar denies link with Chicago suspects

india Updated: Nov 22, 2009 22:10 IST

Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) on Sunday denied having any link to two men arrested in Chicago on terrorism charges.

David Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana were arrested last month and accused of plotting an attack on Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which ran cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in 2005, U.S. authorities said in court documents.

The court documents said the plans were discussed with Lashkar-e-Taiba and with another Pakistan-based militant Ilyas Kashmiri.

Indian authorities are also investigating whether the two men had links to last year's Mumbai attack, which killed at least 166 people.

"David Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana have no connections with Lashkar-e-Taiba, linking them with our organisation was propaganda aimed at maligning Kashmir's freedom struggle," Abdullah Gaznavi, the spokesman for the group, told Reuters by telephone. "We strongly condemn it."

The two men have yet to enter pleas, although Rana's lawyer said he would deny the charges.

The arrest of the two men has revived fears about the militant group's global reach and its ability to plot attacks in
India and around the world.

Lashkar-e-Taiba says it is not associated with Islamist militant groups operating globally, and denies any links to the Pakistan government.

"All our members are local Kashmiri Muslims and we have no network in America, or any other place," Gaznavi said.
"We are only fighting Indian security forces in Kashmir."

The militant group, which Indian security agencies say is made up of fighters from Pakistan, rose to prominence after it carried out a series of suicide attacks across the Himalayan region in 2000.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Kashmir since simmering discontent against Indian rule broke out in 1989.

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