Two held in Mumbai terror plot

MUMBAI; Indian police today said they prevented a major terrorist strike in Mumbai by arresting two men who were preparing to attack several targets in the city, the country’s financial and entertainment hub.

KP Raghuvanshi, chief of Mumbai’s anti-terrorism squad, said the two Indian men - both residents of the city - had targeted a popular shopping mall, a market and a state-owned gas facility.

He said Abdul Latif Rashid

and Riyaz Ali were arrested late yesterday in the Matunga suburb in Mumbai.

Police said the men had links with terror groups in Pakistan and were acting on directions from handlers there.

“They were getting instructions from Pakistan to execute their activities here,” Raghuvanshi said.

India has blamed Pakistan-linked Islamist militant groups

for a deadly November 2008 terror attack on Mumbai in which

166 people were killed. Last month, 16 people were killed in a bombing in a popular bakery in the nearby city of Pune.

It was not immediately clear whether the men were preparing to attack the offices, oil tankers or a housing estate belonging to the Oil and Natural Gas Commission, Raghuvanshi said.

The suspects will remain in custody until Thursday, when they will appear before a judge and be assigned lawyers, Raghuvanshi said.

Mumbai has been on high alert since the Pune bombing.

Following the latest arrests, police have further tightened security measures with additional police patrolling markets and cinemas.