Pakistan police arrest Lashkar-e-Taiba founder

The alleged mastermind behind the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai that killed more than 165 people was arrested in Pakistan, authorities said.

Pakistan police arrested Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the alleged mastermind behind the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai, India, that resulted in over 160 people dead. Photo by Rahat Dar

Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba and head of its Jamaat-ud-Dawa humanitarian arm, was arrested Wednesday by the Counter-Terrorism Department of the Punjab Police near Lahore while on his way to Gujranwala, India Today reported.

Saeed, a United Nations-designated terrorist, was on his way to Gujranwala to pay pre-arrest bail when he was taken into custody. Earlier this month, Saeed was charged along with over a dozen accomplices for funding terror and was granted the pre-arrest bail on Monday.

“The cases against him are all related to fundraising,” Jamaat-ud-Dawa spokesman Nadeem Awan told Al Jazeera. “He is charged with terrorism financing.”

He also faces 23 terror-related cases in Pakistan, but was let out on bail due to a lack of concrete evidence provided by the court, the Pakistani government said.

President Donald Trump applauded his arrest.

“After a 10-year search, the so-called mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks has been arrested in Pakistan,” he said via Twitter. “Great pressure has been exerted over the last two years to find him.”

After a ten year search, the so-called “mastermind” of the Mumbai Terror attacks has been arrested in Pakistan. Great pressure has been exerted over the last two years to find him!

“Arrest. Free. Repeat,” said Taha Siddiqui, a Pakistani journalist, to news of Saeed’s arrest on Twitter.

On Tuesday, Pakistan reopened its airspace to civilian flights five months after it closed it due to a standoff with India. It also comes in advance of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s trip to the White House.

In 2008, 10 gunmen allegedly connected to Lashkar-e-Taiba conducted 12 attacks across three days in Mumbai, India, killing over 165 people and wounding more than 300.

In 2012, the United States offered a $10 million reward for Saeed’s arrest.

ByDarryl Coote