UK & World News

  • 21 November 2012, 12:30

Mumbai Terrorist Mohammed Kasab Is Executed

The sole survivor of a militant squad that killed dozens of people during a massacre in Mumbai has been executed.

Some 166 people died in the three-day attack in India's financial capital in 2008.

Pakistan national Mohammad Ajmal Kasab was hanged at Yerwada prison in Pune, after India's President Pranab Mukherjee turned down a last-ditch mercy plea.

Pictures of Kasab wearing a black T-shirt and toting an AK-47 rifle as he strode through Mumbai's train station during the massacre were published around the world.

"This is a tribute to all innocent people and police officers who lost their lives in this heinous attack on our nation," said RR Patil, the home minister for the state of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located.

The execution was the first time a capital sentence had been carried out in India since 2004.

There was relief on the streets of Mumbai as news of the gunman's death spread.

"When I heard the news of Kasab's execution today, I remembered those horrifying moments of the attack," said Vishnu Zende, who was working at the train station on the day of the attack. "My eyes were filled with tears."

A senior commander of Pakistan's Lashkar e Taiba (LeT) militant group, which India blames for the assault on Mumbai, called Kasab a hero and said he would inspire more attacks.

"To die like Kasab is the dream of every fighter," the commander told reporters by telephone from an undisclosed location.

A Pakistan Taliban spokesman said: "There is no doubt that it's very shocking news and a big loss that a Muslim has been hanged on Indian soil."

The killing spree started on November 26, 2008, after 10 militants arrived on the Mumbai coast in a dinghy.

Nearly 60 people were gunned down in the train station alone.

The militants, who had originally split up into four groups, held off elite commandos for up to 60 hours in two luxury hotels and a Jewish centre in the city.

India says Islamabad is failing to act against those behind the raids, including LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, who has a $10m US bounty on his head.

Pakistan admits the attacks were planned on its soil, but denies official involvement. It says seven suspected militants are being prosecuted for their role.

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