UK authorities checking reports of Britons involved in Mumbai terror attack

Foreign Office, however, denies that up to seven of the terrorists were British.

david miliband 224.88 (photo credit: )
david miliband 224.88
(photo credit: )
UK security agencies are investigating reports of British Muslims being among the terrorists who carried out the attacks in Mumbai. Indian government sources have revealed that evidence has been found linking two of the terrorists to the UK. The Maharashtra state chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh told The Associated Press that two British-born Pakistanis were among the terrorists. NDTV, a local television news channel, also claimed that the terrorists included "British citizens of Pakistani origin." Other reports Saturday said that as many as seven of the terrorists had been British. On Saturday, the Foreign Office said in a statement: "We have spoken to Indian authorities at a high level and they have said there is no evidence that any of the terrorists either captured or dead are British." Senior British security officials, however, have confirmed they are looking through intelligence on domestic suspects with overseas extremist links and reviewing tracked telephone calls to see if British citizens were indeed involved. On Friday, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said it was "too early to say" whether any of those involved were British. "I'm afraid I can't tell you anything about the names or origins or sources of this attack at this stage," Miliband said. "Obviously the Indian authorities are focusing on ending the incident before they are focusing on where it came from." However, Miliband suggested he was taking the reports extremely seriously, and said that the security services were "investigating intensively" any possible links. "We obviously will want to work very, very closely with the Indians, but it is too early to say whether or not any of them are British," he told Sky News. A team of Scotland Yard anti-terrorist detectives have arrived in Mumbai to assist in the investigations. A Conservative MP said he had been given information that two of the terrorists had credit cards and other documents that linked them to Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. MP Patrick Mercer also said he had been told that the terrorists used mobile phones and BlackBerries to access British news sites to gather information about their progress. Ed Husain, director of the Quilliam Foundation, a London-based counter-extremism think tank founded by former leading ideologues of UK-based extremist Islamist organizations, responded to the reports of British involvement in the attacks: "British Muslim leaders need to take their heads out of the sand and begin systematically dismantling the warped theology that has inspired these and other attacks. "Unless our government is bolder in identifying Islamism as the root cause of extremism, we will only be responding to and not preventing terrorism. Extremist Islamist groups continue to hold events in the UK and recruit new followers, radical Islamism has no place in our country," he said. The Independent suggested that according to UK security agencies, more than 4,000 British Muslims have passed through terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, providing a fertile recruitment pool for the Islamist international jihad. In an article on Saturday, the newspaper said that men from the Kashmiri community in the UK have joined groups such as Lashkar-e-Toiba, the prime suspects in the Mumbai terror attacks, which have been fighting against Indian forces in Kashmir. Others from a Pakistani background have joined the Taliban and other armed groups taking part in action against British and NATO forces in Afghanistan.