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India Arrests 2 in Connection with Mumbai Terror Attacks

  • VOA News

Indian police have detained two men, accusing them of helping the terrorists carry out last week's deadly attacks in Mumbai.

A senior police official says on Saturday the men were arrested Friday in the eastern city of Kolkata (also known as Calcutta).

He says they are charged with buying mobile phone cards (also known as SIM, or Subscriber Identity Modules) that enabled the terrorists to talk to their commanders in Pakistan during the attack, which killed more than 170 people.

Meanwhile, Pakistani media and senior officials say a phone call from an impostor almost pushed Pakistan and India to the brink of war last week.

The reports say a man pretending to be India's external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee reached Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and spoke to him in a "threatening" manner.

The call prompted Pakistan to put its forces on high alert, until the hoax was uncovered.

The reports also say the caller tried to reach U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but was not able to get through.

Pakistani officials say the calls apparently came from a New Delhi number, and likely from the Indian External Affairs Ministry. Indian officials deny any call was made, and suggested the caller identification number was manipulated.

India blames the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba for last week's attacks in Mumbai, raising tensions between the two countries. Today's arrests increase the possibility of collaboration by Indian nationals.

Police say one of the men is from West Bengal, while the other is a local police officer in Indian-controlled Kashmir. On Friday, officials said an Indian national (named Faheem Ansari) arrested in February had been carrying detailed drawings of sites targeted in the Mumbai attacks.

Airports across India are on high alert again today, following threats earlier in the week of possible airborne terror attacks. Officials say new information has prompted them to boost security at airports in New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai even higher today.

We have more on this from our Kolkata stringer Paramashish Ghosh Roy.

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