Indian police arrest suspected militant

Indian police have arrested a suspected Islamist militant with alleged links to the head of a Pakistan-based charity who was blamed for plotting the Mumbai attacks, a minister said Friday.

Mohammed Omar Madni was picked up by police in New Delhi on Thursday, Home Minister Palaniappan Chidamabaram told reporters.

The minister said the suspect was an aide to Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity and a founder of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba LeT group that New Delhi blames for the attacks on its financial capital last year that killed 166 people.

"The man arrested does have links with Hafiz Saeed," Chidambaram said, adding that the operation to arrest him was the result of "good intelligence and good investigative work."

A senior New Delhi police official said Madni was tasked by Saeed and his associates with establishing a Lashkar base in Nepal and recruiting computer-savvy activists from India.

The Pakistan-based LeT, established in 1989, is one of the many militant groups battling Indian rule in Kashmir.

It was also blamed for a deadly attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001 that brought the nuclear rivals to the brink of war.

This week, ties between India and Pakistan that were soured by the Mumbai attacks were strained further after a Lahore court ordered the release of Saeed, who has been under house arrest since December.

Pakistan detained Saeed and three of his colleagues after the UN Security Council blacklisted the charity following the Mumbai attacks.

People look at the moon at the Temple of Hercules at the Citadel in Amman. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed