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US sanctions on 26/11 mastermind, seven others

world Updated: Aug 31, 2012 01:04 IST
HT Correspondent

In its most comprehensive action against Lashkar-e-Taiba leadership yet, the US on Thursday designated Sajjid Mir, calling him the "project manager" of the Mumbai 2008 attacks.

The move came as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was meeting Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on the sidelines of the Non Aligned Movement summit in Tehran.

The US treasury also designated seven others: Abdullah Majid, Amir Hamza, Ahmad Yakub, Hafiz Khalid Walid, Qari Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh, Abdullah Muntazir, Talha Saeed.

But Mir, the Mumbai attacks mastermind and David Coleman Headley's handler, is the big catch whose coming designation was first reported by HT earlier in August.

"Today's action against LeT is treasury's most comprehensive to date against this group and includes individuals participating in all aspects of LeT's operations - from commanders planning attacks to those managing LET's relationships with other terrorist groups," said under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence David S Cohen.

"Attacking LeT's facilitation networks is particularly important, since charitable donations LeT raises in Pakistan - its primary revenue source - are used to fuel LeT's militant operations."

By designating Mir, the US has reached beyond the usual LeT leaders who have been named and targeted in the past. There is a bounty of $10 million for information leading to the conviction of LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, who, in fact, roams free undeterred.

The US has been after the LeT for a while, designating it a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in December 2001. And helped put it on UN's list of sanctioned terrorists in May 2005.

Individual leaders began to be targeted after the 2008 attack, in which 166 people were killed including six Americans. The US also holds LeT complicit in attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan saying it has links with the Taliban, the Haqqani network and al Qaeda.

Mir, as said earlier, is a big target. He has been a senior member of the outfit since 2001, and has been in charge of its external operation from 2006.