'Terror' suspects arrested in US sweep

Eight people suspected to be planning attacks in Indian administered Kashmir have been arrested in a major sweep in the Washington region on Friday, the US Justice Department said.

    The arrested were scheduled to be produced before a US federal court in Alexandria later during the day.

    The US authorities said they were on the look out for three other suspects, thought to be living in Saudi Arabia.

    The men have been charged with possessing firearms and conspiring to train and participate in armed attacks in Indian Kashmir, US Attorney, Paul McNulty said.

    Their indictment said they were supporters of the outlawed group, Lashkar-e-Taiba,  that is engaged in an armed struggle for Kashmir’s independence from Indian rule.

    They have also been accused of conspiring to prepare for and engage in violent attacks in Chechnya, Philippines and other countries.

    Some of those arrested are stated to have traveled to Pakistan and trained with Laskhar-e-Taiba.

    The indictment also charged them with obtaining AK-47 rifles and practicing small-unit military tactics in Virginia in simulated combat training sessions.

    The United States had put Lashkar-e-Taiba on its list of foreign terrorist organisations in October 2001.
      
    The suspects were arrested in dawn-swoops in the states of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, an FBI official said.

    Lashkar-e-Taiba has carried out attacks against Indian targets in Kashmir since 1993, and was blamed by the Indian government for a strike against its parliament in New Delhi in December 2001.

    SOURCE: Unspecified


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