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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 June, 2003, 00:25 GMT 01:25 UK
FBI holds alleged Kashmir militants
Indian parliament
Lashkar-e-Toiba was blamed for the Indian parliament attack in 2001
The FBI has arrested eight people in the United States suspected of having ties to Lashkar-e-Toiba, which is blamed for attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir.

They were among 11 men charged with firearms offences and conspiracy to train and participate in jihad (holy war) in Kashmir.

The three other accused men are believed to be living in Saudi Arabia.

The arrests were made during a series of raids on Friday morning in the eastern US after months of investigations by the FBI.

As well as planning to target Indians in Kashmir, the men are also believed to have been planning attacks in Afghanistan, Chechnya and the Philippines.

Military training

The military-style training the group is alleged to have received was carried out in the countryside around Washington and in the state of Missouri.
Indian guards at the Red Fort
Lashkar-e-Toiba attacked the Red Fort in Delhi in 2000

It is said to have included the use of AK-47 rifles and toy guns firing paintballs.

"Ten miles from Capitol Hill, in the streets of northern Virginia, American citizens allegedly met, plotted and recruited for violent jihad," said US Attorney Paul McNulty.

The charge sheet alleges that some of the men went to Pakistan and trained with Lashkar-e-Toiba.

The US State Department put Lashkar-e-Toiba on a list of terrorist organisations in October 2001.

India says the group carries out regular attacks against civilians and security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Delhi has also accused it of involvement in an attack on the Indian parliament in 2001 that nearly led to a war with Pakistan.

Gaining support

There was no immediate evidence that the men were working on a terrorist plot against US targets.

US authorities have made no special terrorist alert warning in recent days.

Lashkar-e-Toiba has emerged as one of the most prominent groups that are involved in militant activities in Kashmir.

It gained more support because of its role in the 1999 Kargil conflict with India and later by sending members on suicide missions in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The group defines its agenda as the restoration of Islamic rule over all of India.


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